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Circus aeruginosus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES ACCIPITRIFORMES ACCIPITRIDAE

Scientific Name: Circus aeruginosus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Western Marsh-harrier, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Western Marsh-Harrier
French Busard des roseaux

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Vorisek, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Khwaja, N.
Justification:
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10 years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
History:
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Countries:
Native:
Afghanistan; Albania; Angola (Angola); Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malawi; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain (Canary Is.); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Regionally extinct:
Ireland
Vagrant:
Algeria; Andorra; Bhutan; Congo; Faroe Islands; Guadeloupe; Iceland; Indonesia; Malaysia; Mauritius; Seychelles; Thailand
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 93,000-140,000 breeding pairs, equating to 279,000-420,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 25-49% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 0.5-2 million individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Behaviour It is mainly migratory, with populations in Western Europe, North Africa and at the south of its range in Asia being generally resident (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Migrant birds leave their breeding grounds in September and October, wintering from France south as far as sub-Saharan Africa, and east as far as the Middle East (del Hoyo et al. 1994). They begin their return journey in February and March, arriving in March and April (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Migration is generally on a broad front, although there is some concentration at a few sites (Brown et al. 1982). Hundreds of birds occasionally gather at roosting sites, sometimes with other harriers such as C. pygargus, but otherwise they are usually solitary, associating only temporarily at especially rich feeding sites (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). They have a slightly greater tendency to be gregarious while on migration but the above still generally applies. Birds fly c.10-30 m above the ground (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat The species inhabits extensive areas of dense marsh vegetation, in fresh or brackish water, generally in lowlands but up to 2,000 m in Asia and 3,000 m on its wintering grounds in Cameroon (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet It is a generalist predator taking a variety of prey types, with small birds generally preferred but mammals such as voles, rabbits and rats being more important in parts of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site The nest is a pile of reeds built in dense marsh vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information The species requires extensive wetland in its breeding range (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Major threats include wetland desiccation and drainage; persecution by shooting; pollution, especially from excessive pesticide use in and around wetlands (although widespread bans have reduced this threat somewhat), and poisoning by heavy metals, notably the consumption of lead-shot through feeding on contaminated waterbirds (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The historical threat of hunting in southern Europe has mostly subsided, but illegal shooting is still rife locally, notably on Malta (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The species is also highly vulnerable to the effects of potential wind energy development (Strix 2012).


Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Circus aeruginosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 July 2014.
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