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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

African Marsh Harrier

Afrikaans name: Afrikaanse Vleivalk

An African Marsh Harrier patrols the grasslands looking for prey

Typical flight of an African Marsh Harrier hunting

Photo © Steven Herbert

Circus ranivorus

The African Marsh Harrier is found over the eastern half of South Africa as well as the southern bits of the country.

It is a streaky brown colour with the females being a bit darker and more rufous.

Harriers hunt by flying low over grasslands or marshlands looking for prey. These birds can grow to 50 cm, weigh 600 grams with a wingspan of up to 1.2 metres.

An African Marsh Harrier patrols the grasslands looking for prey

Photo © Steven Herbert

They are found singly or in pairs.

The African Marsh Harrier breeds in spring and early summer and makes its nest amongst marshy vegetation.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 135

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 190

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 21

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 61

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 14

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 386

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 50

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 149

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 144

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 110

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 87

List of South African Birds

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