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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Euornithes
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Ornithurae
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Ordo: Accipitriformes

Familia: Accipitridae
Subfamilia: Circinae
Genus: Circus
Species: C. aeruginosus – C. approximans – C. assimilis – C. buffoni – C. cinereus – C. cyaneus – C. hudsonius – C. macrosceles – C. macrourus – C. maillardi – C. maurus – C. melanoleucos – C. pygargus – C. ranivorus – C. spilonotus – C. spilothorax

Species extincta: †C. eylesi

Circus Lacépède, 1799

Falco aeruginosus Linnaeus, 1758, = Circus aeruginosus

Primary references

Lacepède [1799]. Discours d'ouverture et de clôture du cours d'histoire naturelle. Donné dans le Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, l'an VII de la République, et Tableaux methodiques des mammifères et des oiseaux. Paris. MDZ. Discours pp. 1–55. Mammifères pp. 1–18. Oiseaux pp. 1–20. Reference page. : 4


Hoatzin, New World vultures, Secretarybird, raptors – IOC World Bird List v11.2

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Belibağlı
башҡортса: Көйгәнәктәр
беларуская: Луні
български: Блатари
Deutsch: Weihen
English: Harriers
Esperanto: Cirkuoj
suomi: Suohaukat
日本語: チュウヒ属
한국어: 개구리매아과
latviešu: Liju apakšdzimta
македонски: Еи
русский: Луни
svenska: Kärrhökar
தமிழ்: பூனைப் பருந்துகள்
中文: 鹞属

A harrier is any of the several species of diurnal hawks sometimes placed in the subfamily Circinae of the bird of prey family Accipitridae. Harriers characteristically hunt by flying low over open ground, feeding on small mammals, reptiles, or birds. The young of the species are sometimes referred to as ring-tail harriers. They are distinctive with long wings, a long narrow tail, the slow and low flight over grasslands and skull peculiarities. The harriers are thought to have diversified with the expansion of grasslands and the emergence of C4 grasses about 6 to 8 million years ago during the Late Miocene and Pliocene.[1]

Northern harrier, adult male.

The genus Circus was introduced by the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède in 1799.[2] The type species was subsequently designated as the western marsh harrier.[3][4] Most harriers are placed in this genus. The word Circus is derived from the Ancient Greek kirkos, referring to a bird of prey named for its circling flight (kirkos, "circle"), probably the hen harrier.[5] The name harrier is thought to have been derived either from Harrier (dog), or by a corruption of harrower, or directly from harry.[6]

Ring-tail is an informal term used by birders for the juveniles and females of several harrier species when seen in the field and not identifiable to an exact species.[7] Ring-tail harriers include the juveniles and females of Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), and pallid harrier (Circus macrourus).
A male Montagu's harrier displays the signature upswept wings and grassland habitat.

Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus – Eurasia, winters in Africa and India
Hen harrier, Circus cyaneus – Eurasia
Northern harrier, Circus hudsonius – North America[8]
Western marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus – Europe, western Asia; winter range includes Africa and India.
Eastern marsh harrier, Circus spilonotus – Asia (migratory)
African marsh harrier, Circus ranivorus – southern and central Africa
Swamp harrier, Circus approximans – New Zealand, Australia, Pacific islands
Papuan harrier, Circus spilothorax – New Guinea (formerly treated as a subspecies of C. spilonotus, then C. approximans, but now considered distinct)
Malagasy harrier, Circus macrosceles (formerly in C. maillardi) – Indian Ocean (Madagascar and the Comoro Islands)
Réunion harrier, Circus maillardi – (Indian Ocean) Réunion Island
Long-winged harrier, Circus buffoni – South America
Spotted harrier, Circus assimilis – Australia, Indonesia
Black harrier, Circus maurus – southern Africa
Cinereous harrier, Circus cinereus – South America
Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus – migratory: eastern Europe, Asia, Africa (winter)
Pied harrier, Circus melanoleucos – Asia
† Eyles's harrier, Circus eylesi (prehistoric)
† Wood harrier, Circus dossenus (prehistoric)

The subfamily Circinae has traditionally included the genera Polyboroides and Geranospiza which include three species - the Madagascar harrier-hawk, (Polyboroides radiatus), the African harrier-hawk, (Polyboroides typus) and the crane hawk, (Geranospiza caerulescens). This may however not be a valid subfamily as the monophyletic genus Circus is nested within the Accipiter groups while the other two genera are paraphyletic and are part of the larger Buteonine clade. Many species in the genus Circus show very low diversity in their mitochondrial DNA due perhaps due to extreme drops in their populations. They are prone to fluctuations with varying prey densities.[9][10]

Oatley, Graeme; Simmons, Robert E.; Fuchs, Jérôme (2015). "A molecular phylogeny of the harriers (Circus, Accipitridae) indicate the role of long distance dispersal and migration in diversification". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 85: 150–60. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2015.01.013. PMID 25701771.
Lacépède, Bernard Germain de (1799). "Tableau des sous-classes, divisions, sous-division, ordres et genres des oiseux". Discours d'ouverture et de clôture du cours d'histoire naturelle (in French). Paris: Plassan. p. 4. Page numbering starts at one for each of the three sections.
Mayr, Ernst; Cottrell, G. William, eds. (1979). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 1 (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 316.
Lesson, René P. (1828). Manuel d'ornithologie, ou Description des genres et des principales espèces d'oiseaux (in French). Volume 1. Paris: Roret. p. 105.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Hogg, John (1845). "A catalogue of birds observed in South-eastern Durham and in North-western Cleveland". The Zoologist. 3: 1049–1063.
"Harriers in India: A Field Guide" (PDF). Wetland Link International. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
Etherington, Graham J.; Mobley, Jason A. (2016). "Molecular phylogeny, morphology and life-history comparisons within Circus cyaneus reveal the presence of two distinct evolutionary lineages". Avian Research. 7. doi:10.1186/s40657-016-0052-3.
Griffiths, Carole S.; Barrowclough, George F.; Groth, Jeff G.; Mertz, Lisa A. (2007). "Phylogeny, diversity, and classification of the Accipitridae based on DNA sequences of the RAG-1 exon". Journal of Avian Biology. 38 (5): 587–602. doi:10.1111/j.2007.0908-8857.03971.x.
Fuchs, Jérôme; Simmons, Robert E.; Mindell, David P.; Bowie, Rauri C. K.; Oatley, Graeme (2014). "Lack of mtDNA genetic diversity in the Black Harrier Circus maurus, a Southern African endemic". Ibis. 156: 227–230. doi:10.1111/ibi.12103.

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