Spotted Harrier - profile

Indicative distribution


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Key:
known
predicted
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Circus assimilis
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 12 Feb 2010
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2017

Description

The Spotted Harrier is a medium-sized, slender bird of prey having an owl-like facial ruff that creates the appearance of a short, broad head, and long bare yellow legs. The upperparts are blue-grey with dark barring, and the wingtips are black. The face, innerwing patch, and underparts are chestnut. The long tail is boldly banded, with a wedge-shaped tip. Juveniles are mottled and streaked ginger and brown, with prominent ginger shoulders, fawn rump and banded tail.

Distribution

The Spotted Harrier occurs throughout the Australian mainland, except in densly forested or wooded habitats of the coast, escarpment and ranges, and rarely in Tasmania. Individuals disperse widely in NSW and comprise a single population.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occurs in grassy open woodland including Acacia and mallee remnants, inland riparian woodland, grassland and shrub steppe. It is found most commonly in native grassland, but also occurs in agricultural land, foraging over open habitats including edges of inland wetlands.
  • Builds a stick nest in a tree and lays eggs in spring (or sometimes autumn), with young remaining in the nest for several months.
  • Preys on terrestrial mammals (eg bandicoots, bettongs, and rodents), birds and reptile, occasionally insects and rarely carrion.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Threats

Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Known None
Broken Hill ComplexBarrier Range Outwash Known None
Broken Hill ComplexMootwingee Downs Known None
Broken Hill ComplexScopes Range Known None
Channel CountryBulloo Known None
Channel CountryBulloo Dunefields Known None
Channel CountryCentral Depression Known None
Channel CountryCore Ranges Known None
Channel CountrySturt Stony Desert Known None
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsGreat Darling Anabranch Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsMenindee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsPooncarie-Darling Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWilcannia Plains Known None
Mulga LandsCuttaburra-Paroo Known None
Mulga LandsKerribree Basin Known None
Mulga LandsNebine Plains Known None
Mulga LandsParoo Overflow Predicted None
Mulga LandsParoo-Darling Sands Known None
Mulga LandsUrisino Sandplains Known None
Mulga LandsWarrego Plains Known None
Mulga LandsWarrego Sands Predicted None
Mulga LandsWest Warrego Predicted None
Mulga LandsWhite Cliffs Plateau Known None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Known None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
NandewarInverell Basalts Known None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Predicted None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Predicted None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Known None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Predicted None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Predicted None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Predicted None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
RiverinaRobinvale Plains Known None
Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsStrzelecki Desert Known None
South East CornerBateman Predicted None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Predicted None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinMoss Vale Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Predicted None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None