Can you con­firm if I’ve ticked off my first Mon­tagu’s...

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

QPlease could you con­firm if I have just seen my first Mon­tagu’s Har­rier, or could it be a Hen Har­rier? I saw this bird near Upavon, Wilt­shire, on 17 June – look­ing at my field guide the black bar on the wing sug­gest it may be a Mon­tagu’s. Ken King, Melk­sham, Wilt­shire

AYou’re quite right, this is a male Mon­tagu’s Har­rier – add that tick to your life list! The black stripe across the up­per wing is di­ag­nos­tic, be­ing ab­sent in the very sim­i­lar male Hen Har­rier, and ‘Mon­tys’ like this are also typ­i­cally more slen­der and even more el­e­gantly pro­por­tioned than their close rel­a­tive. Male ‘Mon­tys’ also have ch­est­nut streak­ing on the un­der­parts, are darker grey than Hens, and have more black around the wingtips. The lo­ca­tion and tim­ing, of course, are also sug­ges­tive of Mon­tagu’s – sev­eral of the very small Bri­tish breed­ing pop­u­la­tion are found on Sal­is­bury Plain, while at this time of year you’d ex­pect Hen Har­ri­ers to be on their breed­ing grounds in the up­lands.

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