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Hen harrier

Description: Manx name: Shirragh ny Giark.
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
This specimen of a female of immature hen harrier has been set up for display as if in flight, so that the way the bird holds its wings in a characteristic shallow 'v' shape can be clearly seen. Male birds are a very distinctive ash grey, with black tipped wings, while females and young birds are brown with darker striations.

Hen harriers are protected by law in the Isle of Man and are not subjected to the persecution they often face in Britain, even though they are protected there too. In the Isle of Man, they prey on meadow pipits and rabbits as there are few red grouse for them to hunt, a tendency which often gets them into trouble with gamekeepers on British grouse moors. Here, they can be seen quite easily cruising over hill land, moors, farmland or on the Calf of Man or adjacent Meayll Peninsula.

The Isle of Man is a stronghold for this distinctive bird of prey. Migrating and resident birds roost communally in winter, and make a particularly fine sight as they come into rest at dusk in the Ballaugh Curragh wetland in the north of the Island.

Taxonomic name: Circus cyaneus

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 2004-0009


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