Image # 4572
adult male banking in flight
An adult male Northern Harrier banks in flight over Kern National Wildlife Refuge. Northern Harriers are a highly unique raptor in North America this means that in all plumates they are easily recognized. The low coursing flight combined with a prominent white rump patch are diagnostic. When they soar which is rarely, they look lanky with a long tail and very long broad wings. Harriers are the only hawk with a partial facial disk like an owl and this is because they are th only hawk that often hunts by ear. An experimenter had an almost 100% kill ratio on the small speakers he played mouse sqeeks through. Adult males are very whitish below with a gray back. For a bird that is mostly feathers, harriers are ballsy living up to their name by showing a willingness to piratically attack almost any other food carrying raptor in flight.