Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinereus)


French: Busard bariolé German: Grauweihe Spanish: Aguilucho vari

Circus cinereus


, 1816,

Paraguay and near Río de la Plata


Closely related to C. cyaneus and C. hudsonius, and formerly considered conspecific. Falkland Is population, probably extinct, proposed as race histrionicus, but of doubtful validity. Monotypic.


From Andes of Colombia and Ecuador (above tree-line) S through Peru (including coastal region) and Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego; non-breeding visitor in Paraguay, NE Argentina and Uruguay; now probably only vagrant in Falkand Is.

Descriptive notes

39–48 cm; male 315–407 g, female 427–510 g; wingspan 90–115 cm.  Both sexes have prominent white rump; distinctive rufous barring below. Male... read more


Generally silent outside breeding season. Display call of male a rapid chattering “kekekekekekek”,... read more


Savannas, pastures and wetlands; near marshes, rivers, streams and large lakes; montane grasslands... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly birds and other small vertebrates. Large sample of prey (n = 1259) from Torres del Paine National Park, S Chile, consisted... read more


In S, nesting reported in Oct–Jan, later than other local raptors, as occurs in C. cyaneus; may be timed so that abundance... read more


Migratory and resident, but transition between these populations not known. Southernmost birds move... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Overall thought to be in little danger, albeit this notion not based on hard data. In S portions of range (e.g. Tierra del... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Cinereous Harrier (Circus cinereus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 January 2020).