Pied Harrier

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: Eastern Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier

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


Local Status: Rare migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

Location: Recent sightings were at Changi reclaimed land, Tanah Merah grassland, Pulau Semakau, Kranji Marsh and Telok Blangah Hill.


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link

BirdLife International. (2016). Circus melanoleucos. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Downloaded on 2 September 2021
Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.
Lim, K. S., Chia, A., Yong, D. L., & Chew, J. (2009). The Avifauna of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore).
Robson, C. (2008). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers.