Montagu's Harrier

Montagu’s Harrier is one of the commonest harriers wintering in India and the male is identified by the characteristic dark bars on it’s upperwing (secondaries). The typical flight of the Montagu’s is described as that of methodical flapping close to the ground to flush grasshoppers (Clarke 1996).

Breeding and Migration

The Montagu’s harrier breeds all over Europe and Russia. Birds from Eurasia spend the winter in sub-Saharan Africa, while those from the eastern part of its breeding range migrate to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. In Europe, the first birds start to move at the beginning of August and most would have left by mid-October. They travel over a broad-front, crossing the Mediterranean at various points, and only a small number are observed at migration choke points. Western birds do not go further south than the gulf of Guinea, but some eastern birds travel as far as South Africa.


Commonest harrier in the dry semiarid and arid regions. They prefer open grasslands, thin scrub country, bare hilly regions and dry agricultural areas.


Takes large quantity of grasshoppers in their wintering range apart from birds and reptiles


Loss of natural grasslands in Europe, Africa and India. Status of the breeding areas in Central Asia is unknown.

Montagu's Harrier (adult male)

Photo: Aravind Venkataraman

Montagu's Harrier(adult male)

Photo: Thalavai Pandi

Montagu's harrier (female/juvenile)

Photo: Arpan Saha

Montagu's Harrier (juvenile)

Photo : Aravind Venkataraman

Montagu's harrier (female/juvenile)

Photo: Abhilash K

Montagu's harrier (juvenile)

Photo: Mohan Kemparaju

Montagu's harrier (male)

Photo: Mohan Kemparaju

Montagu's harrier (female)

Photo: Mohan Kemparaju