Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Accipitridae / Buteo / Species
Buteo buteo - Common buzzard (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Buzzard
  • Buizard (Dutch)
  • Buse variable (French)
  • Mäusebussard (German)
  • Poiana (Italian)
  • Busardo ratonero (Spanish)
  • Ormvråk (Swedish)
  • Buteo buteo vulpinus (Steppe buzzard)

Names for newly-hatched

Chick

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B162, B163, B164, B165

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Birds of Prey

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Birds of Prey

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Aviculture Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length
  • 51-57cm (tail 16-18cm) (B162); 46-58cm (B164); 54cm (B165).
  • Wingspan: 113-128cm (B162);110-132cm (B164).
  • Female 5-10% larger than male (B162).
Adult weight General -
Male 550-1000g (B162).
Female 700-1300g (B162).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black with yellow cere (B165).
Variations (If present)  
Eyes Male Dark brown (B162).
Variations(If present)  
Juvenile Bill  
Eyes (Iris)  

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Legs

Adult Male Feet yellow (B165).
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile --

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Plumage

Adult Male Overall dark brown, with flight feathers paler undersides but dark tipped.
  • Upperparts: dark brown
  • Underparts: dark brown, breast often has paler band, finely cross-barred, lower abdomen also finely cross-barred .
  • Wing: Flight feathers pale with 5-7 narrow dark bars (faint on outer primaries) and dark tips, therefore wingtip and trailing edge dark. Dark narrow carpal patch.
  • Tail: upperside brown with fine dark barring and wider terminal bar; underside off-white with fine dark barring and wider terminal bar.

(B162, B164, B165)

Variations (If present) Pale form: rare in Britain:
  • Upperparts may include whitish areas.
  • Underparts whitish.
  • Wings whitish except for dark tips of primaries and narrow dark carpal patch.

(B165)

Buteo buteo vulpinus - Steppe buzzard:

  • Tail paler, rufous, wing has primaries whiter on underwing, upperwing outer primaries paler, more prominent black trailing edge; breast band may not be paler (fine dark barring and wider terminal bar.) (B164).
Juvenile
  • Underparts: paler, streaked not barred.
  • Tail: no terminal dark bar.

(B164)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi-altricial (B163).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year
  • Western and Central Europe: eggs laid from early April.
  • Southern Europe: eggs laid late March/early April.
  • Northernmost birds: late May/early June.
  • Cape Verde Islands: end December to mid-January.

(B162)

No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

  • In tree, also in cliffs, rarely on steep-sloping ground.
  • Large pile branches, twigs, heather, with green vegetation lining.
  • Usually close to trunk, with one or more branches supporting.
  • Diameter 1m, height 60cm; larger if re-used.

(B162, B163, B164)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 2-4 (B162, B163).
Range 1-6 (B163); up to 5, rarely 6 (B162).
Egg colour Rounded oval, not glossy, white with reddish-brown blotches (may be more to large end), 55mm long (B162, B163).

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Incubation

33-35 days per egg (B162); 33-38 days (B163).

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Hatching

Asynchronous (B163).

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Fledging

Usually 50-55 days, range 48-62 days (B162, B163).

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Sexual Maturity

Males 3 years (B163).
Females 3 years (B163).

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults
  • Hunts alone.
  • Perches and glides to prey.
  • Soars over open areas and drops onto prey.
  • Walks along ground (for invertebrates).
  • Scavenges.

(B162, B163).

Newly-hatched Fed by parents (B163).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By male and female (B163).
Incubation Mostly by female (B163).
Newly-hatched Fed by female, with male bringing food (B163).
Juveniles

Fed by both parents (B163).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific
  • Territorial while nesting, and throughout year if sedentary.
  • Usually solitary or in pairs. Solitary while hunting.
  • Some gathering while soaring, particularly on migration, in thermals.
  • Some congregation at narrow passage points on migration.

(B162, B163)

Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

  • Monogamous; rarely bigamous.
  • Resident birds pairs maintained throughout year, long-lasting (probably until one partner dies).

(B162, B163).

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Predation in Wild

--

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Activity Patterns

Perch on e.g. fences, telegraph poles watching for prey (B164).
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

  • Small mammals - particularly voles, also other rodents, rabbits.
  • Birds, reptiles, amphibians.
  • Large insects, earthworms.
  • Also carrion.

(B162, B163, B164)

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Newly-hatched

--

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Europe, from Britain eastwards across north-central Asia to Japan, also breeding northern Iran (B162, B163).
  • Britain: mainly northern and western areas; particularly Wales and south-west England, but also north-west England, much of Scotland, northern Ireland (B165).

Movements:

  • Western and Southern European populations sedentary.(B163).
  • North-eastern European and Asian populations migratory: concentrate at narrow sea crossings (Falsterbo, Bosphorus, Straits of Gibraltar), moving south as far as South Africa, India. (B163).
  • Buteo buteo rothschildi, Buteo buteo insularum, Buteo buteo bannermani, Buteo buteo arrigonii: island races, resident.
  • Buteo buteo buteo (breeds in Europe, as far east as Sweden Poland, Balkans): resident or short distance migration, wintering in Europe and north-west Africa.
  • Buteo buteo vulpinus (breeds eastern Europe and Siberia as far as 96°E): winters in southern Europe, North Africa west to Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Transcaucasia, Turkmenistan south to Arabia (mainly sub-Saharan Africa from Sudan and Ethiopia as far south as South Africa

(B162)

Occasional and Accidental Accidental: Iceland, Faeroes, Algeria (B162).
Introduced

 

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Habitat

  • Open habitats including mountains, coasts, farmland, marshes, other open land with small woods or forests.
  • Varied landscapes preferred (open land for hunting, trees for resting and nesting).

(B162, B163, B164, B165)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

  • Buteo buteo buteo (breeds in Europe, as far east as Sweden Poland, Balkans).
  • Buteo buteo vulpinus (breeds eastern Europe and Siberia as far as 96°E).
  • Buteo buteo rothschildi, Buteo buteo insularum, Buteo buteo bannermani, Buteo buteo arrigonii: island races.

(B162).

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Decreases in some areas e.g. Britain (B163).

General Legislation --
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Persecution by gamekeepers. Also pesticides, rabbit declines (B163).

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Captive Populations

--

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Trade

--

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