Male hen harriers are a pale grey colour and have black wing tips. Sometimes they look similar to gulls from a distance; however hen harriers tend to fly close to the ground with their wings held in a shallow ‘V’ as they search for food. Females are larger than the males; they are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tails.
Hen harriers arrive at upland breeding areas from late March and stay there until August/September. This is the best time to see them at Muirshiel and Greenock Cut. In winter they move to lowland farmland, heathland, coastal marshes and river valleys, they can sometimes be spotted at Castle Semple in the winter months.
The majority of the Regional Park is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to help conserve the Hen Harrier. Our Countryside Rangers are specially licensed by Scottish National Heritage (SNH) to monitor breeding activity and install a live camera on their nest. You can watch previous footage of the hen harrier nest at our YouTube channel or have a look at our hen harrier FAQ page for more information on these beautiful birds.
All year round
Throughout the Park, but mainly Muirshiel and Greenock Cut