As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Hen harriers are on the brink of extinction in England after researchers find there are only four breeding pairs left in the country

Number of breeding pairs in England fell from 12 in 2010 to just four in 2016
Hen harriers are the most threatened birds of prey in the UK due to illegal killings
The number of breeding pairs in Wales also fell to 35 from 57

By Press Association and Phoebe Weston For Mailonline

Published: 07:50, 28 June 2017 | Updated: 11:19, 28 June 2017

Hen harriers are on the brink of extinction in England after the number of breeding pairs fell to four last year, according to worrying new figures.

The fifth national hen harrier survey showed the number of breeding pairs of the bird of prey in England fell from 12 in 2010 to just four in 2016.

Scotland – which is home to 80 per cent of the UK population of hen harriers – saw its number of breeding pairs drop to 460 in 2016 from 505 six years previously.

Hen harriers mainly live in open areas with low vegetation, normally in the moorlands of Wales, Northern England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.

In winter they move to lowland farmland and river valleys.

They mainly feed on small birds and mammals and used to hunt free-range fowl which is how they got their name.

Males are pale grey while females are brown with a white rump and long tail.

The number of breeding pairs in Wales fell to 35 from 57 while Northern Ireland also experienced a drop from 59 to 46.

Hen harriers are the most threatened birds of prey in the UK due to illegal killings and destruction of heather moorland and forestry, their natural habitat.

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