Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)


Reunion Marsh-harrier (Circus maillardi)


French: Busard de Maillard German: Réunionweihe Spanish: Aguilucho lagunero de Reunión
Other common names: Reunion Harrier, Madagascar Marsh-harrier (when lumped with C. macrosceles)

Circus Maillardi

J. P. Verreaux

, 1862,

Reunion Island


Traditionally regarded as a member of the C. aeruginosus species-group (see C. aeruginosus). Has sometimes been treated as conspecific with C. spilonotus. Until recently was considered conspecific with C. macrosceles, but differs on account of significantly smaller size (wing 355 mm vs 410 mm#R; at least 1) yet with longer claws and middle toe#R (at least 1) (2); in male, head or at least cheek black vs with blackish-and-whitish streaks (2); in male, flight-feathers unbarred and tail with subterminal dark band vs flight-feathers with two narrow bars, tail with four (2); in female, wings uniformly dark brown vs pale brownish-grey with dark streaking on coverts and barring on wings (3); white rump on male and barred rump on female vs barred rump on male and white rump on female (ns[2]). Monotypic.


Reunion I.

Descriptive notes

42–54 cm; wingspan 105–140 cm. Rather large and bulky Circus (though smaller than closely related C. macrosceles), with thin head, long... read more


Basically silent except during breeding season, when gives vocalizations similar to those of other... read more


Extensive surveys conducted from late Oct 1997 to mid-May 1998. Breeding pairs found most often in... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on small vertebrates and insects. Original diet on Reunion probably entirely birds and insects (including grasshoppers and... read more


Laying mostly from Dec–Mar. Twisting aerial display with calling performed by C. macrosceles apparently is... read more


Mostly sedentary, although some movement to lower elevations outside the nesting season.

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES II. Tiny range, confined to Reunion I, where population extremely small and loss and degradation of habitat are continuing. Estimates of numbers vary, from... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Reunion Marsh-harrier (Circus maillardi). 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 7 April 2020).