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Birding Málaga


Common name Western marsh harrier
Scientific name Circus aeruginosus
Type Waterbirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized raptor bird (approx 55 cm or 21.5 in) with a stylized silhouette (wingspan approx 140 cm or 4.5 ft). It is observed mostly in flight, with V-shaped wings and a long tail. Males with brown upperparts. Yellowish-ocher shoulders and head, and rufous and cream underparts, lighter on breast and throat. Wings with grey edges, creating a large pale wing band very visible in flight. Eyes more yellow or light. Larger females and with more homogeneous, brown and dark brown upperparts and underparts in general. Yellowish or light head, shoulders and throat. Darker eyes. Both sexes with legs with naked, yellow tarsi.



Where it lives

Wetlands with developed marsh vegetation: borders of several types of reed and rush formations. Its range area of hunting is adjacent to the wetland: meadows, farmlands and countryside.

How it lives

Species practically present all year round in the province; occasional breeder, more frequent as a wintering bird. It breeds from April, with an early mating season. One laying of 3 to 8 eggs. Nest in large reedbeds. Varied diet, from small mammals to birds, their chicks, small reptiles, amphibians, fish and carrion. A very typical behaviour is patrolling the wetland and its boundaries suspended in the air.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It can usually be observed in the mouth of the Guadalhorce and in the Campillos and Fuente de Piedra lagoons.

Curious facts

Some Marsh Harrier males adopt female plumage. These "effeminate" or disguised males manage to enter the territories of other males thus avoiding confrontations. This gives them certain reproductive advantages: they have more time to mate and thus save energy, which they then invest in breeding. On top of that, they are also much more "daring" when wooing females.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration