Birds – South American Harriers

Two species in South America complete the representation of this genus in the New World, these being the Cinereous Harrier (C. cinereus) of the southern portion of the continent, and the Long-winged Harrier (C. maculosus) of South America in general. In the first the male is bluish gray above, with darker mottlings, the primaries blackish, and the tail gray with four black bands, while the throat and neck are, like the back and the abdomen, thickly barred with white and rufous. The female is dark brown above with lighter spots. This species is exceedingly abundant on the pampas, where its flight is low and always rather rapid, ” while if its quarry should double it loses no ground, for it turns something in the manner of a Tumbler Pigeon, going rapidly head over heels in the most eccentric and amusing fashion.” It appears to feed largely on small birds, driving them up from the tall grass and then striking them down with its claws. Its nesting habits are similar to those of our Marsh Hawk, but the eggs are described as white, blotched with dark red. The Long-winged Harrier is black above and on the chest and throat, while the frontal band, stripes over the eyes, upper tail-coverts, and abdomen are white.