Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), male
Pallid Harrier, Male

Pallid Harrier

Circus macrourus

The Pallid Harrier, a graceful bird of prey, exhibits a typical harrier silhouette with long wings held in a shallow V during its low, gliding flight. Adult Pallid Harriers are medium-sized raptors, measuring 40–48 cm in length with a wingspan of 95–120 cm. Males, lighter in build, weigh around 315 g, while the slightly larger females tip the scales at approximately 445 g.

Identification Tips

The male Pallid Harrier is distinguished by its whitish-grey upperparts and pure white underparts, accented with narrow black wingtips. In contrast, the female is cloaked in brown with white upper tail coverts, earning her and similar juveniles the moniker "ringtails". Her underparts are a buff color, streaked with brown. When distinguishing this species from others, note its smaller size, narrower wings, paler coloration, and unique wingtip pattern compared to the hen harrier. It also bears resemblance to the female Montagu's harrier but can be identified by its paler belly and a more defined facial pattern.


The Pallid Harrier breeds on open plains, bogs, and heathland, favoring expansive, unobstructed landscapes for nesting and hunting.


This migratory species breeds in the southern reaches of eastern Europe, central Asia, and Iran. Come winter, it travels to India and southeast Asia. While a rare visitor to Great Britain and western Europe, sightings are on the rise, with notable breeding occurrences in the Netherlands and Spain.


Pallid Harriers are known for their surprise hunting tactics, drifting low over fields and moors to capture unsuspecting small mammals and birds. Their diet also includes large insects such as grasshoppers and locusts, as well as lizards and frogs.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Pallid Harrier, while not extensively documented here, play a role in communication and territory defense, as is common among raptor species.


The ground-nesting Pallid Harrier lays a clutch of three to six eggs, though four to five is the typical range. The eggs are whitish in color, and the nesting site is often a simple scrape on the ground, concealed by vegetation.

Similar Species

The Pallid Harrier is similar in appearance to the hen harrier and the Montagu's harrier. However, it can be differentiated by its size, wing shape, and coloration, as well as specific patterns on the wings and face.

Diet and Feeding

A versatile predator, the Pallid Harrier's diet encompasses small mammals, birds, large insects, lizards, and frogs. It employs a low-flying hunting strategy to ambush prey in open landscapes.

Conservation status

The Pallid Harrier is currently classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Conservation efforts are essential to monitor and protect this species as it faces challenges in its natural habitat.

App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Pallid Harriers on Birda


More Kites, Hawks, Eagles

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Dan R
Great app for bird fanatics
Great app for bird fanatics - very user friendly and a perfect place to share sightings.
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❤️
We've been waiting for an App like this
Excellent! We've been waiting for an app like this! Thank you! It would be nice if you could assign additional birds to sessions later!
Fantastic app - Love it!
Love this app and have used it almost daily. Lots of species information and easy to use. Love seeing birds spotted by other users in the UK and worldwide.
A mordern game changer
Birda is an awesome app, its updated the world of birding to the modern day with a fun and easy to use app. It’s engaging and allows positive interaction with fellow bird lovers!
Really useful
Downloaded to give it a try, everything worked perfectly, recorded my first bird watching walk. Very impressed. Have already recommended to friends!
Learning Birding with Birda
I’m relatively new to birding as a hobby, and Birda is a great way to keep track off all the species I see. I’m still working on my ID skills, but the app is great for figuring out potential species, and the online community is so friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend Birda to both early and serious birders! 🐦
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Great app for learning Birds
I’ve been using the app for a couple of months and love it....Someone said it’s like a real life Pokémon Go for birds. They’re not far off! It’s something that the family can do that gets you out and about. Well worth downloading no matter your age.
Birda fan
I really enjoy using Birda, all sightings are recorded and photos can be added. There are monthly challenges which help to get you out to record your sightings. The Birda community are great and are happy to help with unidentified bird sightings. Suitable for all ages and experience!
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.