The pallid harrier preys on small mammals, birds and large insects. These include voles, mice and gerbils, larks and pipits, grasshoppers and locusts (2). It spends a large part of its day hunting (2), foraging over 20 kilometres from its roost (5). It flies low over the ground, dropping down to capture prey spotted on the ground (2). Tall grass provides valuable cover as the harrier steals up on flocks of larks feeding on the ground (5).
The pallid harrier nests on its own, or in a loose group of three to five pairs. The nest is a pile of grass situated on the ground in meadows, scrub or swamps, protected by vegetation (5). Typically four to five eggs are laid in May and June (2), which are incubated for 30 days. Usually only two or three young survive to fledge at 35 to 40 days old. It is generally the female that incubates the eggs and broods the nestlings, while the male provides food for the chicks (5).
In August and September, the pallid harriers leave their breeding grounds and undertake the great migration to their warmer wintering grounds (2). The European populations migrate mostly to Africa, whilst the Asian populations migrate both to East Africa and southern Asia (5). Here they will stay until March or April, when they begin the long journey back to the breeding areas (2).