Wildlife advent calendar: Day 20: Hen harrier
A bird that has been the subject of much conversation, the hen harrier is currently causing conflict between conservationists and grouse hunters. Hen harriers were once numerous in the UK but have suffered population declines as a result of land use change and persecution by gamekeepers as they are known for taking grouse chicks on the moorlands which are raised for the hunting industry.
Throughout the winter, hen harriers move from their breeding grounds in upland heath moorlands in Wales, Scotland and North England to more lowland areas . During winter more hen harriers also fly in from mainland Europe and form larger populations in South East England.
Image taken from Flickr user Rob Zweers
RSPB website – Hen harriers
BTO website – Hen harrier population information