Buzzard or Hen Harrier?

I rounded a bend in the path just in time to see a large bird of prey fly up onto a pole.  I just got a brief glimpse, but the impression I had was very long wings, which makes me think Hen Harrier.  The upright posture (it is completely obscured by the pole in the first image) and the fact of it perching on a pole are both things I have seen more commonly in Hen Harrier than Buzzard.  The eye colour seems wrong for Hen Harrier, which I believe should be yellow, but looking at photos on the Internet of juveniles, they seem to have darker eyes.  There are, of course, more Buzzards than Hen Harriers in the area, but I have seen both very close to this location.  Unfortunately, it flew off as I was trying to creep round to a better angle, and I failed to capture the flight, but again, the brief impression was of long wings, before it vanished behind trees.



  • A Buzzard for me Lesley, HH have more of an Owl looking face with the feathers on the head.

    My Flickr photos

  • Agree with Alan that your photo is of a Common Buzzard;     here are the two species for you to compare, first the Hen Harrier with the facial features Alan describes.......

    (juvenile male Hen Harrier)

    and the Common Buzzard next ............. as you can see they are distinctly different and this bird has the facial features that your bird has


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Thank you both for the replies, and for the very helpful photos, Hazel. I can recognise a whole bird without too much trouble, but just the face was baffling me!
  • Now this is how a Buzzard ought to behave -  sitting out in plain view, with a couple of handy Hoodies for size comparison.

    If only all birds were this obliging!