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Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)


Northern Harriers are slender, low flying hawks with long wings and a long tail. They have a white rump patch and owl-like facial disc. A sexually dimorphic species, males and females look very different. Adult males are gray on their upper parts and almost white underneath, with black wing tips. Adult females are dark brown above and buffy with darker streaks underneath. Juveniles appear similar to females, but are darker. Adults have yellow eyes, while juvenile males have yellow-green eyes and juvenile females have chocolate brown eyes.



Northern Harriers prey on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.


Some populations of Northern Harriers stay in Colorado year-round, while others spend only their winters here.


Northern Harriers nest on the ground in wet patches of tall, dense vegetation. Females lay one to seven eggs. Young begin exploring nearby vegetation after about two weeks, but do not fledge until four to five weeks after hatching.


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