Although there are currently over 400 pairs breeding in the UK, the vast majority live in Scotland as the English population has been illegally hunted to near extinction.
More birds are to be found during the winter when it becomes a scarce visitor to English coastal marshlands.
Their average lifespan is 7 years.
Like all harriers, the Hen Harrier flies close to the ground usually with bursts of 5-10 wingbeats interspersed with glides with the wings held in a shallow ‘V’.
They feed mainly on young and adult songbirds, young gamebirds and small rodents.
Males are sometimes polygamous.
A male and female pair often display in the air together during courtship – sky dancing – where they stoop, chase and clutch talons with each other. The male sometimes performs crazy loop-de-loops, somersaults and rolls.
Outside Europe, Hen Harriers can be found throughout northern Asia and northern China. Some ornithologists see the population in the Americas as a separate species: the Northern Harrier.