Western marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus, photographed by Dino Quinzani.

Belongs within: Accipiter.

Circus, the harriers, is a cosmopolitan genus of relatively long-legged hawks with long square tails, slightly rounded wings, and distinct facial discs. They are mostly found in open country and are named for their habit of flying back and forth (harrying) in search of prey (Austin 1961).

<==Circus Lacépède 1799 [Circinae] B94
    |--+--C. cinereus JT12
    |  `--C. cyaneus JT12
    `--+--C. buffoni JT12
       `--+--C. aeruginosus JT12
          `--C. ranivorus JT12

Circus incertae sedis:
  C. approximans Peale 1848 R85
    |--C. a. approximans S13
    |--C. a. gouldi Bonaparte 1850 WS48
    `--C. ‘gouldi’ wolfi Gurney 1865 S13
  C. assimilis Jardine & Selby 1828 WS48
    |--C. a. assimilis WS48
    `--C. a. rogersi Mathews 1912 [incl. C. approximans inexpectatus Mathews 1912] WS48
  C. dossenus WH02
  C. eylesi Scarlett 1953 [=Accipiter eylesi] N10
  C. hudsonius S18
  C. macrosceles JT12
  C. macrourus JT12
  C. maillardi WH02
  C. maurus JT12
  C. melanoleucos VP89
  C. pygargus WH02
  C. spilonotus Kaup 1847 JT12, I92 [=C. aeruginosus spilonotus I92]

Nomina nuda: Circus hamiltoni Forbes 1892 WH02
             Circus teauteensis Forbes 1892 WH02

*Type species of generic name indicated


Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[S13] Sarasin, F. 1913. Die Vögel Neu-Caledoniens und der Loyalty-Inseln. In Nova Caledonia: Forschungen in Neu-Caledonian und auf den Loyalty-Inseln. A. Zoologie vol. 1, Heft I (F. Sarasin & J. Roux, eds) pp. 1-78, pl. 1-3. C. W. Kreidels Verlag: Wiesbaden.

[S18] Stone, W. 1918. Birds of the Panama Canal Zone, with special reference to a collection made by Mr. Lindsey L. Jewel. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 70: 239-280.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[WS48] Whittell, H. M. & D. L. Serventy. 1948. A systematic list of the birds of Western Australia. Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication 1: 1-126.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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