Male Marsh Harrier

A Male Marsh Harrier hunting over the golden grasslands of Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, India.

Male Marsh Harrier – About the Western marsh harrier:

The Western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), often simply called the marsh harrier, is a medium sized raptor in the family Accipitridae. They are the largest and broadest-winged of all harriers. They are found almost worldwide, excluding only the Americas. They breed widely across Europe and Asia and are migratory except in the mildest regions. These Harriers Winter mainly in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Harriers are master hunters and can be seen drifting incredibly low to the ground on their powerful wings to surprise their prey. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals, frogs, fish, insects and birds. Their long legs and powerful talons allow them to pluck frogs and fish from the water mid-swoop, making them well suited for wetland and marshy habitat. 

At the beginning of the 20th century, the marsh harrier was hunted to extinction in the United Kingdom. After being reintroduced from other regions, its population steadily increased until DDT threatened it, along with other raptors, in the 1950s and 1960s. Since, the population has slowly and steadily increased.

Find out more about Marsh Harriers


Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northwestern Rajasthan on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert; The Thar. This small grassland habitat is surrounded by sparse scrub and dry dusty plains peppered with salt pans. Originally a hunting ground for the Maharaja of Bikaner it was declared a sanctuary in the 1960s.

India’s Grasslands are home to some of its most endangered species, many of which are endemic. This important habitat now only exists in a handful of places in India and is sadly becoming increasingly scarce.

This stunning grassland wasn’t always the paradise seen today. After decades of neglect and encroachment by the nearby salt production the sanctuary was in a sorry state. Thanks to efforts coordinated by Mr. S.S.Poonia, the range forest officer at Tal Chhapar, over the years the grassland has been transformed. After gradually stripping away the invasive plant; Prosopis juliflora a variety of grasses were planted such as Mothiya grass, a favourite of the blackbucks, which derives its name from ‘moti’ meaning pearl, as its sweet seeds look like pearls. The final result is vast swathes of pristine grassland bustling with animal life. 

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary

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A Male Marsh Harrier hunting over the golden grasslands of Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, India.


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