Rare bird of prey shot dead in southern Scotland

An appeal has been launched after a bird of prey was shot dead near Dumfries and Galloway.

The hen harrier was found on a grouse moor near the village of Wanlockhead in June, with a shotgun pellet later recovered from its chest.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has now asked for the public's help in finding the perpetrator.

Rare one-month-old Hen Harrier chicks being fitted with Remote Satellite receivers. Credit: PA

The wildlife charity has also appealed for information after the sudden disappearances of two satellite-tagged hen harriers.

The first, called Romario, was last recorded on a grouse moor between Tomintoul and Grantown-on-Spey on September 11 and the second, named Thistle, was on another grouse moor in east Sutherland on October 12.

Despite laws to protect them, hen harriers remain one of the UK’s rarest birds of prey. From satellite tagging data they are known to be ten times more likely to be illegally killed over grouse moors.

Hen harriers are ten times more likely to be killed over grouse moors. Credit: PA

Studies suggest there are only around 575 pairs of hen harriers remaining in the whole of the UK and Isle of Man. 460 are in Scotland.

If anyone has information on the incidents they should contact police on 101.