This web page uses its own cookies and the third-party cookies to collect the information which help us make the service as good as possible. By no means is our intention to use it for gathering personal data.

Cookies policy



Common name Montagu's harrier
Scientific name Circus pygargus
Type Farmland birds
Status Summer

Medium sized raptor (approx 45 cm or 17.5 in) with slender shapes. Long, narrow, pointed wings and slightly in the shape of a "v" (wingspan approx 115 cm or 4 ft). Males and females dress differently (sexual dimorphism). The females show brown plumage and for the males it is greyish ash, slightly blue or silver. The males have grey back and head, white belly and pointed wings. The females have a brown back and a clear head and belly with brown spots. The tail has brown bars.


Cultivated areas

Where it lives

Exclusively in steppes and cereal crops (mainly wheat and barley); also present in nearby olive groves, marshes and wetlands. Rarely in scrubland areas.

How it lives

The Montagu's Harrier is present in Malaga only during the breeding season, nesting on the ground with a single laying of 4 to 5 eggs between April and May. It feeds mainly on locusts, grasshoppers, voles, mice, rats and lizards that it captures by patrolling their territory in low altitude flights. This raptor is a trans-Saharan migrant, which means that its wintering areas are south of the Sahara Desert. It can be seen in migratory passage in the province.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It is present only in stages of the Great Path linked to steppes, cereal crops and nearby olive groves. It can be watched in stages 16 to 19.

Curious facts

This harrier is a raptor closely linked to agricultural activity and provides a great service as a pest control of voles and rodents. Due to the fact that its nest is placed on the ground, it suffers serious problems during the harvest season as its nesting period overlaps with the passage of mechanized harvesters.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration