Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)


French: Busard tacheté German: Fleckenweihe Spanish: Aguilucho moteado

Circus assimilis

Jardine and Selby

, 1828,

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Sulawesi form quirindus doubtfully valid, and rogersi (from Lesser Sundas and N Australia) equally or even more so. Monotypic.


Australia; Sulawesi and Sumba (W Lesser Sundas); also recorded (possibly resident) on Sula Is, Butung and Timor.

Descriptive notes

50–61 cm; male 407–537 g, larger female 530–745 g; wingspan 121–147 cm. Slimmer and longer-tailed than C. approximans with broad-based well-... read more


Gives a sharp, high-pitched "wik wik wik" and a more chattering "kikikikik",... read more


Treeless or sparsely wooded grasslands, subdesert and thornbush, savannas, plains and cropland (... read more

Food and feeding

Terrestrial birds (quails, larks, pipits), mammals (mainly mice, but to size of bandicoots and rabbits), large insects and reptiles (... read more


Usually Sept–Oct in S Australia, exceptionally Mar–Jun; Jun–Sept in N; may rear two broods in single year. Solitary and... read more


Partly migratory in S, some birds wintering in tropics; status uncertain in Sula Is and Lesser... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally uncommon but widespread; may have benefited locally in S by creation of habitat, and increase in native and... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis). 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 11 December 2019).