New York Natural Heritage Program
Northern Harrier
Circus cyaneus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Birds
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) Jeff Nadler
Family: Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae)

State Protection: Threatened
A native species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in New York (includes any species listed as federally Threatened by the United States). It is illegal to take, import, transport, possess, or sell an animal listed as Threatened, or its parts, without a permit from NYSDEC. 1) Any native species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in New York. 2) Any species listed as threatened by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Federal Protection: Migratory Bird Treaty Act
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act implements various treaties and conventions between the U. S. and Canada, Japan, Mexico and the former Soviet Union for the protection of migratory birds. Under this Act, taking, killing, or possessing migratory birds, including nests or eggs, is unlawful unless specifically permitted by other regulations.


State Rarity Rank: S3B,S3N
A State Rarity Rank of S3B,S3N means: Typically 21 to 100 breeding occurrences or limited breeding acreage and typically 20 to 100 non-breeding (usually winter residents) occurrences in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G5
A Global Rarity Rank of G5 means: Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.


Did you know?
Unlike most hawks, harriers can use their sense of hearing to help locate prey. Harriers have an owl-like facial disk to help with directional hearing and soft feathers for a quieter flight.

State Ranking Justification [-]
There were 354 probable and confirmed breeding blocks identified during the second Breeding Bird Atlas (McGowan and Corwin 2008) and 355 probable and confirmed breeding blocks identified during the first New York State Breeding Bird Atlas (1980-1985) (Andrle and Carroll 1988). However, these numbers could be deceptive since they are cumulative over several years and the birds occupy large breeding territories (i.e. individuals reported in more than one block). They are widespread in winter, but numbers are highly variable. There is concern about the status of Northern Harrier populations in New York because of the loss of farmland and wetlands throughout the state.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]