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LC
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus

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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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.

Trend justification
The population is decreasing owing to over-use of pesticides and improved locust control, agricultural intensification and destruction of nests by farm machinery and loss of small mammal and bird prey species due to changing agricultural practices (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Ecology
Behaviour This is a migratory species, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It leaves its breeding grounds in August and September, beginning their return in March and April (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Snow and Perrins 1998). Birds tend to migrate on broad fronts, but there are concentrations in Gibraltar and along the Rift Valley (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Nevertheless it will readily migrate over expanses of water (Brown et al. 1982). Birds tend to hunt alone, although do gather at high prey concentrations and will roost in groups of often over 50, sometimes communally with C. macrourus and C. aeruginosus (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).  Habitat It is a bird of open country, usually in lowlands but occurring up to 1,500 m in central Asia, and on its African wintering grounds up to 4,000 m (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet Small birds and mammals form the majority of its diet; voles are a particularly dominant food source locally in abundant areas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site It nests in tall vegetation on the ground (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information Tall vegetation must be left during the breeding season, with high rates of chick mortality when this is harvested on agricultural land; key management practices include moving nestlings to safe places during harvesting, and leaving areas unharvested around the vicinity of nests (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Threats
In the past, the use of organochlorine pesticides seemed to cause a decline in Europe and probably to a lesser extent also in Africa (Brown et al. 1982, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001); further causes of declines on its wintering grounds have been locust control and droughts in the Sahel (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is currently in decline owing to the conversion of its habitat to agricultural land, an environment in which crop gathering by combine harvesters causes frequent breeding failure in the species (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Intensification on this land increases this threat (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is commensal with some forms of agriculture, and changes in these practices could leave it potentially vulnerable by depleting its supply of small birds and mammals to prey on (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is very highly vulnerable to the impacts of potential wind energy developments (Strix 2012).

References
Brown, L. H.; Urban, E. K.; Newman, K. 1982. The birds of Africa vol I. Academic Press, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Strix. 2012. Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development. BirdLife International, Cambridge.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

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., Harding, M., Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Circus pygargus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014.

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 - Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 9,420,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species