I recorded information on pre-roost habitats of Western Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus) near communal roost sites located in and around Keoladeo National Park (KNP), India, during three winters from 1997 to 2000. Harriers pre-roosted in different habitats in KNP compared to the surrounding areas (25-km radius). Harriers used trees as their main pre-roosting perches in KNP, but mainly used open fields in the surrounding areas. All nine tree species present near roost sites in KNP were used for pre-roosting. Among tree species used for pre-roosting, harriers preferred sacred fig (Ficus religiosa), a tall tree with a wide canopy. Babul (Vachellia nilotica) trees, though not preferred, were more utilized for pre-roosting, probably because of their abundance. The lack of suitable open areas near the primary roost site in KNP may help explain why harriers used trees as pre-roosting perches there. At other roost sites outside KNP where trees were sparse, harriers mainly pre-roosted on the ground. By perching on trees, harriers may be conspicuous to other arriving harriers, which likely helps the birds gather into a large roosting flock. Such large roosts may benefit harriers by providing protection from predators and a site where birds may obtain information on food resources. Although trees were used as pre-roosting sites at KNP, I did not observe any harriers roosting on trees overnight during the 3-yr study.

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