montagus harrier

montagus harrier defined in 1930 year

montagus harrier - Montagus Harrier;
montagus harrier - Upper parts bluish grey; primaries black; secondaries with three transverse dark bars; lateral tail-feathers white barred with reddish orange: under parts white variously streaked with reddish orange. Female: upper parts brown of various tints; under parts pale reddish yellow, with longitudinal bright red streaks. Beak black; legs and feet yellow. Length, eighteen inches.

This hawk was named by Yarrell after the well-known ornithologist, Colonel Montagu, who was the first to distinguish between this species and the hen harrier, which it so closely resembles. Seen on the wing at a distance of two to three hundred yards, the sharpest-sighted ornithologist would probably be unable to say whether the bird was a hen harrier or a Montagu's harrier. The present species is slimmer bodied; but, owing to the greater comparative length of its wings, it appears, when flying, as large as the hen harrier. It is a spring and summer visitor to this country, and in its flight, and preying and breeding habits, closely resembles the species last described. Small birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects form its prey. It breeds, or formerly bred, in suitable localities in most English counties from the south coast northwards to Norfolk, making its slight nest on the ground, among the furze- bushes or heather. The eggs resemble those of the hen harrier in colouring, but are smaller in size.

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