Raptors are very special birds for me personally, especially the one in the image, a Harrier. Elegant, graceful and you must witness their glide and aerial manoeuvrability, it is a sight one shouldn’t miss.
What you see here is called Pallid Harrier, this is a female. The male looks very different with whitish grey above and white below, with narrow black wingtips. I will share an image of a male next time around, when I get lucky to click one.
Curious to know more about this majestic beauty? Read on..
My first encounter of this beauty was at Tal Chappar, a Blackbuck sanctuary in Rajasthan, India. I was awe struck with it’s sheer majestic and graceful flight. This image was made there in the expansive grasslands. Intrigued, I went on to learn about this bird and here are some high level details from various credible internet sources.
They have a fairly large distribution globally – From East Europe to Central Asia, Africa to South East Asia. Indian subcontinent range – South to East Afghanistan, sub-Himalayan region, Sri lanka, Maldives, South Andaman, Afghanistan, North West Himalayas and Lakshadweep. In India, they are winter migrants and seen here during these months.
Their diet consists of insects, birds and sometimes even small mammals. Studies suggest, they have a lifespan of about 12-13 years.
They are solitary birds, and spend a large part of the day hunting, foraging to distances of ~20km from its roost. Sailing gracefully they scan high in the sky, nearly motionless wings and swoops down rapidly to pounce upon prey almost as soon as it sights one.
Unfortunately this majestic creature is classified as ‘Near Threatened’ by IUCN, thanks to habitat loss and other human inflicted issues.
Eol.com (encyclopaedia of life)