One of the easier hawks to identify in flight, Northern Harriers sport a white rump at the base of their tail which is readily visible as they glide low over fields and marshes seeking prey.
Unlike other hawks, Northern Harriers possess an owl-like facial disc of short, stiff feathers which direct sound towards the bird’s ears; they use their sense of hearing as well as their acute vision to locate small mammals and songbirds. Another distinction between Northern Harriers and most hawks is their sexual dimorphism – males are grey and females brown. (Photo: juvenile female Northern Harrier – note dark brown eyes which will become yellow with age)
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