Pallid Harrier

Circus macrourus

10th Mar, 2008

Full Species (monotypic); i.e. no subspecies/races

Near Sultanpur National Park, Haryana, India, 6th Mar, 2008.
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The Pale Harrier is only a cold weather visitor, but a very common one. It arrives as early as September and leaves as late as the end of April, though the majority may be said to leave about the end of March.

The flight of this Harrier is - usually noiseless and slow, but it is capable of moving along at considerable speed, and of dropping instantaneously on its prey, no matter how fast it may be going. It may be found either singly or in pairs-occasionally in small parties systematically hawking dhak jungles and patches of cultivation, evidently scanning the ground minutely as it progresses. On one occasion I saw it pursuing a Lark in company with a Red-headed Merlin (Falco chiquera). The chase was both interesting and long as the Lark endeavoured to escape by ascending, but in an evil moment it made tracks for dhall field, and, though swooped at several times by the Harrier, it fell a prey to the active little Hawk. The former then attempted to rob the latter, and but for a friendly mangoe tope would probably have succeeded.

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