Length: 50-60 cm Common
Distribution, the Australian mainland generally (except the interior) and Tasmania; also in New Caledonia, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and Fiji. Also called Guilds Harrier, Allied Harrier and Swamp Hawk.
Singly or in pairs, frequenting swamps, seed-beds and cultivated lands. Usually seen flying slowly over the tops of seeds and crops, sailing low on upswept wings looking slightly from side to side occasionally hovering clumsily. At times it soars high meanwhile uttering a plaintive, short cry “pew”.
A Spring/Summer migrant to Tasmania. Diet is chiefly waterfowl birds, rabbits and other small mammals. Breeding September to January. The nest is bulky, composed of sticks, seeds, weeds and long grasses placed on the ground among long rushes growing in a swamp or in a standing crop. Eggs: 3 to 5; bluish white, without gloss.