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

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

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 43-46 cm

Identification: 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)

Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Note that records currently under review are also not displayed, and the list may not be a full list of records of this species in Singapore. For more details, check the database here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos
Average number of individuals by week based on Singapore Bird Database data, Jul 2016 to Jun 2023 (all records)
Peak week Oct 29-Nov 04
Early date 13 Oct 2022
Late date 02 Apr 1995
Like most other scarce migrant raptors, no longer winters in Singapore due to habitat loss. Most recent records have come in November.


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.

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