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Hen harrier

The hen harrier has been severely persecuted for taking game species and has suffered massive declines in numbers as a result.

How to spot them

While males are a pale grey colour, females and immatures are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tail which give them the name 'ringtail'. They fly with wings held in a shallow 'V', gliding low in search of food.


Where to see them

Hen harrier's over-wintering habitat is lowland farmland, heathland and coastal marshes.

Conservation status

The hen harrier is red listed in the UK.  

Did you know

Female hen harriers are known as 'ringtails' due to their distinctive tail banding. Both females and males attend the young; the males provide food, which is often passed, mid-air to the female in a spectacular display of 'throw and catch'.

Find out more