Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides radiatus)


French: Gymnogène de Madagascar German: Madagaskarhöhlenweihe Spanish: Aguilucho caricalvo malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Gymnogene

Vultur radiatus


, 1786,



Often considered conspecific with P. typus, but differs in its paler grey head and upperparts (1); narrower and slightly paler barring below, becoming less distinct on lower underparts (2); remiges wholly black above and below (2); lack of subadult plumage stage#R—a striking circumstance (3). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.


Descriptive notes

57–68 cm; wingspan 116–132 cm. Very similar to African congener P. typus, but generally paler, sometimes with brownish wash to mainly grey upperparts;... read more


Utters long shrill "pee-ee-ee-ee" or “weeee-eer” lasting 1–2 seconds... read more


Forests and woodlands over much of Madagascar up to 2000 m, although only widespread below 1300 m... read more

Food and feeding

Insects (e.g. locusts, Orthoptera, beetles, Lepidoptera, cockroaches) and their larvae or small vertebrates, e.g. nestlings including Henst... read more


Sometimes lays as early as Jul–Aug but most data suggest laying in Oct, seen adding sticks to nest Sept and chick in one nest ready... read more


None recorded, though speculated to be sometimes nomadic.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. One of the five commonest raptors on Madagascar, outnumbered only by Buteo brachypterus, Milvus migrans... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Madagascar Harrier-hawk (Polyboroides radiatus). 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 24 February 2020).