Swamp Harrier on an 'ecological release' - Film

To: 'David Rees' <>, "" <>
Subject: Swamp Harrier on an 'ecological release' - Film
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2017 04:41:32 +0000

The book Birds of Prey of Australia. By Stephen Debus records carrion as food of the Swamp Harrier. HANZAB says “In NZ often take carrion; less so in Aust.”.


I wonder what are the several other now extinct harriers.


I like the way this film shows the big difference in pattern of the central tail feathers compared to the others, thus giving a very different impression of top and underside of the tail.


There is of course the other native raptor, the NZ Falcon. HANZAB says “rarely carrion” for it.


There probably was not a lot of carrion in NZ before possums, wallabies & cars.




From: David Rees [
Sent: Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 5:52 PM
To: <>
Subject: [canberrabirds] Swamp Harrier on an 'ecological release' - Film


Those familiar with New Zealand birds would know that the Swamp Harrier is the only member of the hawk family currently extant in New Zealand. There were once others, including a huge eagle that hunted Moa (plus children according to Maori tradition) plus several other now extinct harriers. 


There being no Crows (except for a few European Rooks in a few places) and no kites etc in NZ, it basically has the scavenging/hunting thing to itself and has become ubiquitous.  Here we see one doing something I cannot say I've seen one do in Australia - feeding on roadkill, a not uncommon sight in NZ.  Interesting to note that the remains it is feeding on is another animal on an 'ecological release' over there - a Brush-tailed possum!


No real audio on this footage as it was filmed from inside a car - optics not great, but these are very nervy birds when like this.


Filmed recently on visit taken at short notice to NZ.



More to come...







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