basic information

Western Marsh-Harrier

Circus aeruginosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Болотный лунь | Саз құладыны

Fakeevo, Jangala region, West Kazakhstan oblast
© Askar Isabekov


Widespread on breeding and migration, breeds everywhere, except the waterless areas. It winters in south from Shymkent. Please see detailed distribution in the section Subspecies.


Common breeding migrant. Inhabits lakes, rivers and reservoirs with cane or reed-mace thickets. Appears mid-March in southern areas, and mid-April in the northern ones. Breeds in separate pairs, not closer than 200 m apart. Nest is built in reed-beds or mace reeds amongst water, on islands or shores; at 5-10 m from water; from twigs, dry reed and grass stems and other vegetation. Clutches of 3-6, more often 4-5 eggs is in mid-April – May. Female incubates for 32-35 days from the laying of first egg, male feed it. Both parents feed juveniles which begin to fly in early July – August. Autumn migration begins in end August, and in northern areas Marsh Harriers disappear in mid-September, but in southern ones in mid-end October only.


Circus aeruginosus aeruginosus (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Description. Male in definitive plumage has rufous-buffy head with dark brown streaks; dark-brown mantle with rusty edges of feathers; dark-brown scapulars with grey bars on base; upper tail coverts are brown with grey mottles; cheeks and ear coverts are brown. First five primaries are black with white base of inner webs, outer webs are silvery-tinged. Others primaries are bluish grey with whitish pattern. Throat is whitish, other underparts are brownish-red with dark streaks. Female in definitive plumage has lighter head and top-neck; mantle and scapulars are darker than in spilonotus.
    Distribution. Breeds throughout on plains of Kazakhstan, except waterless and mountain areas; widespread occurs on migration. Wintering in south from Shimkent. 30 birds were observed on Shardara reservoir 18-21 December 2003.

Circus aeruginosus spilonotus (Kaup, 1847)

    Description. Male in definitive plumage has greyish-white head with neat dark-brown streaks; mantle is black with grey edges of feathers; scapulars and upper tail coverts are black with silvery-grey bars; cheeks and ear coverts are black with greyish edges and streaks. First five primaries are white in base, black in top, with black outer web which is silvery-tinged. Others primaries are grey with black bars and white spots on inner webs. Under parts are white with black rachis of feathers, sometimes with buffy tinge on craw and breast. Female in definitive plumage has darker head and top-neck; mantle and scapulars lighter than in aeruginosus.
    Distribution. Probably occurs in eastern and south-eastern Kazakhstan on migration. Stray birds of unidentified subspecies were observed on Markakol lake; on lake at confluence Bayancol and Tekes rivers in 1948-1950 at 2000 m; and 21 August 1973 in highlands of Zailiyskiy Alatau ridge (Big Almaty lake).


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.



Circus aeruginosus aeruginosus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Circus aeruginosus spilonotus
(Kaup, 1847)

other names

Камышевый лунь

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Вадим Нагуманов: Спасибо, Анна!


Никита Канунников: я ошибся, у седоголовой же хвост не рыжий. а обводка вокруг глаза есть не только у неё.


Анна Ясько: Славка-завирушка.

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