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Juvenile Black-mantled Goshawks (Accipiter melanochlamys)

The Papuan Harrier (Circus spilonotus spilothorax) is a bird of prey that is native to New Guinea.


Distribution / Range

Within its range it occurs across the whole of New Guinea, with the exception of the Vogelkop peninsula in the west.

Several unconfirmed reports from Australia could easily be the result of confusions with the similar Swamp Harrier.

These harriers inhabit grassland and wetlands up to elevations of 3800 m (12,500 feet).



The adult male has a mostly silvery-grey plumage, with a black head, throat, back and wing-markings and white under plumage.

The adult female has a mostly brown plumage except for the pale rump, barred tail and streaked under plumage.

A dark morph (genetic mutation) has been identified in the central highlands and the Sepik valley. The males of this form have a blackish plumage with a grey tail. The females have a dark brown plumage.

Immature birds have a blackish-brown plumage with cream-colored markings on the head, which are more extensive in females. The length of the bird varies from 47 to 54 cm; females are larger than the males.


Juvenile Black-mantled Goshawks (Accipiter melanochlamys)Diet / Feeding

The Papuan Harrier feeds on small mammals, birds and lizards that it hunts low over open ground.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

Chestnut-manteled Goshawk (Erythrotriorchis buergersi)

Juvenile Black-mantled Goshawks (Accipiter melanochlamys)Papuan HarrierPapuan HarrierPapuan Harrier

Papuan Harrier



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