Pied Harrier

This species is defined as a Review Species. Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page.

Scientific Name: Circus melanoleucos
Malay Name: Helang-Sawah Hitam-Putih
Chinese Name: 鹊鹞

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


Size: 43-46 cm

Male is distinctive looking with all black head, breast, upper body and median coverts, large whitish patch on lesser coverts, whitish rest of underparts and black outer primaries contrasting with whitish wings in flight. Female resembles Eastern Marsh Harrier but has small whitish patch along upper edge of lesser coverts and almost unmarked whitish thighs and vent. Juvenile also resembles Eastern Marsh Harrier but has more rufous brown body and wing coverts, indistinct paler bands across blackish secondaries and darkish bars at greyish primaries.

Similar looking species: Black Baza, Eastern Marsh Harrier

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


Local Status: Rare migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Featured articles:

Featured reports: Oct 2022, Nov 2022

Past accepted records in our database:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

BirdLife International. (2021). Circus melanoleucos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T22695402A203542370.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.
Lim, K. S. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.