Marsh harriers are recognised as harriers by their long, narrow tails, long legs and wings held in a 'V' in flight. This species is the largest of the harriers and has broad, rounded wings. Members of the genus Circus possess an owl-like 'ruff' of facial feathers that disguises very large ear openings, which enable the bird to detect prey species by the noises they produce. The plumage colour is variable, but mainly brown. Females and immature individuals have creamy coloured crowns and throats; mature males have pale-grey wings with a dark brown body and wings. Calls include a lapwing-like mewing and a 'chattering' alarm call (2).
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