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Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note

Circus cyaneus and C. hudsonius (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as C. cyaneus following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Population justification
The European population is estimated at 30,000-54,400 breeding females, which equates to 60,000-109,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms approximately 34% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 176,000-321,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 100,000 to 499,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes. However in Europe the population size is estimated and projected to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% over the period from 2000, when the decline is estimated to have started in Russia, which holds 70% of the European population, to 2024 (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).

Threats
The current main threat is the transformation of habitat owing to intensified agriculture, disappearance of marshes and reafforestation. Persecution is still severe locally, for example on managed grouse moors of Scotland; in 2013 not a single pair successfully nested in England (Pitches 2013), despite the fact that there is estimated habitat for more than 300 pairs (Fielding et al. 2011). The species is also shot illegally in central and eastern Europe (Tucker and Heath 1994). In the Czech Republic, wild boar Sus scrofa may pose a major threat to nesting birds (Kren 2000 in Global Raptor Information Network 2015).

References
BirdLife International. 2015. European Red List of Birds. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Fielding, A., Haworth, P., Whitfield, P., McLeod, D. and Riley, H. 2011. A Conservation Framework for Hen Harriers in the United Kingdom. JNCC Report 441. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.

Global Raptor Information Network. 2015. Species account: Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus. Available at: http://www.globalraptors.org/grin/SpeciesResults.asp?specID=8206. (Accessed: 06/07/2015).

Hagemeijer, E.J.M. and Blair, M.J. 1997. The EBCC atlas of European breeding birds: their distribution and abundance. T. and A. D. Poyser, London.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Orta, J., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. and Marks, J.S. 2014. Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Pitches, A. 2013. England's Hen Harriers: extinct in 2013? British Birds 106(1): 3.

Rich, T.D.; Beardmore, C.J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P.J.; Bradstreet, M.S.W.; Butcher, G.S.; Demarest, D.W.; Dunn, E.H.; Hunter, W.C.; Inigo-Elias, E.E.; Martell, A.M.; Panjabi, A.O.; Pashley, D.N.; Rosenberg, K.V.; Rustay, C.M.; Wendt, J.S.; Will, T.C. 2004. Partners in flight: North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

Tucker, G.M. and Heath, M.F. 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Circus cyaneus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Northern harrier (Circus cyaneus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1766)
Population size 100000-499999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 12,300,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment