The birds

Marsh harrier

Marsh harrier

Contrary to other species of harrier nesting in the fields, in the meadows and moors, Marsh harrier depends on the vegetation surrounding ponds and wetlands. He is the largest of all the harriers (its wingspan is 110-140 cm) and the most common. It occurs all over Europe, except in the far north. It also nests all over central Siberia to the Far East, in the north of Africa, in Madagascar and Australia. As a migratory bird, it flies to wintering grounds on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea at the end of September, to return to their habitats in March.

His nest, entwined with aquatic plants, it is well hidden in the reeds. The marsh harrier places them on an old abandoned nest or on a pile of leaning or broken reeds. In May, the female bears 3 do 6 whitish, almost round eggs, which hits by 33 days. During the first two or three weeks after the young Harriers hatch, the male provides food for the entire colony. The female breaks the food into pieces before giving it to the chicks. Later, the female also goes hunting. Young marsh harriers like to wade in the water, a po 26 days they discover the reeds surrounding the nest. Po 40 days they begin their first flight attempts, but they fly well only after 56 days. The marsh harrier does not have very strong fingers and claws, so it can only attack small mammals and insects. It only exceptionally happens to catch an animal the size of a hare or coot.

Male marsh harrier has a brown coat, yellowish breast, dark, brown-red belly, gray tail and the underside of the wings (1). In summer, the gray contrasts with the color of the feathers (3).

Unlike other harriers, its rump is not white. Female, bigger and more massive, as well as adolescents up to one year of age have uniformly brown plumage, except for the head, which has a honey or cream top (2, 4). All Harriers' flight is quite slow, kind of uncertain, with small changes in speed especially then, when they fly low, waiting for prey. They can glide very well, especially during the mating season, when they perform spectacular acrobatics. They can also "sail" keeping their wings in the shape of a wide-open V (5). Protected species.