Eastern Marsh Harrier

Scientific Name: Circus spilonotus
Malay Name: Helang-Sawah Biasa
Chinese Name: 白腹鹞

Found from eastern Siberia, north-eastern China to northern Japan and winters to the Indian subcontinent, southern China, southern Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia


Size: 48-56 cm

Male resembles Pied Harrier but has black streaks on neck and breast and lacks large white patches on upperwing-coverts. Female resembles Pied Harrier but has dull rufous belly and thigh. Juvenile also resembles Pied Harrier but has darker brown body and pale head.

Similar looking species: Pied Harrier

Habitat: Open country, reclaimed land, grasslands and marshes.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually flies low over open country with short flaps interspersed by long glides.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Location: Recent sightings were at Changi reclaimed land, Tanah Merah grassland, Kranji Marsh and Henderson Waves Bridge.

Featured articles:

Featured reports: Oct 2022, Nov 2022

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

BirdLife International. (2021). Circus spilonotus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T61709141A203625947.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023
Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.