Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Common Buzzard Fact File

Buteo buteo

Credit: Loz (L. B. Tettenborn), CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

525-1000g

(18.5-35.3oz)

Length

50-57cm

(20-22.5in)

Lifespan

Wild 25 years

Captive 25 years

Diet

Carnivore

Rodents, Birds, Insects

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The common buzzard is a raptor with a wide range across much of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. Some populations are resident year round while others migrate.

One factor in their ability to exploit such a wide range is their generalist diet. They primarily target small mammals and birds but in winter may subsist on just insects.

They build a large nest of up to 1m (3.3ft) across in a tree where they will deposit their eggs.

Populations declined significantly in the mid 1900s owing to habitat loss, reduction in prey, with the myxomatosis outbreak in rabbits having a large effect, and poison baiting. Luckily numbers across much of their range have since recovered.

Read on to learn more about these brilliant birds.

Appearance

What does the common buzzard look like?

The common buzzard is a medium sized bird. It has a range of adaptations to help with soaring on thermals including broad wings and a short tail.

They have large eyes to help them spot prey, these are colored yellow or light brown. To help eat their prey they have have a short bill with a hook at the tip to tear it apart. Their large feet end with curved talons used to seize and carry prey. These are colored yellow.

Adults are variable in their coloration. Their plumage is variable shades of brown with a paler color on the underside. Some white feathers are present at the base of the beak.

An average common buzzard will measure 50-57cm (20-22.5in) long with a weight between 525 and 1000g (18.5-35.3oz). They have a wingspan of 109-140cm (43-55in) across.

While similar in appearance females tend to be larger than males.

These birds may be confused with the golden eagle with the primary difference being that this species is larger.

Diet

What does the common buzzard eat?


Common buzzards are carnivores. Their diet includes a range of insects, small mammals such as rodents, birds and carrion.

Their highly flexible diet is one of the main factors allowing them to be so widespread.

During winter hunting more often occurs during on the ground where they will seek out insects. They primarily hunt outside of winter by soaring on thermal currents and using their superb vision to spot prey below before swooping on to it.

Common Buzzard

Credit: Zeynel Cebeci, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the common buzzard?

Common buzzards are found across parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. Here they can be found in the following countries – Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Angola; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Bulgaria; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czechia; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Monaco; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malawi; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestine; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russia; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of the Congo; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uzbekistan; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the common buzzard live in?

Common buzzards are found in woodlands and open areas. Their migration may take them through areas of treeless tundra or steppe.

— AD —

Reproduction

How does the common buzzard produce its young?

Males and females undertake their courtship in the air. During this they will soar and perform climbs and swoops. He may pass some nesting material to her while in the air.

Their nest is a platform of sticks which is placed in a tree. It is a large structure which can reach up to 1m (3.3ft) across. This is located at the edge of a forest.

In to the nest the female will deposit between 2 and 4 eggs which are colored white. These hatch after 35 days of incubation.

Fledging takes place after two months but their parents continue to feed them for several weeks after.

Sexual maturity is reached between 2 and 3 years old.

Behavior

What does the common buzzard do with its day?

In much of their range they are resident. Those in Scandinavia and parts of eastern Europe will undertake migrations to Africa and southern Asia where they overwinter.

They will avoid sea crossings and so during their migrations it is not uncommon to see large groupings of these animals at peninsulas and narrow straits.

During their migration they are strictly active during the day.

Common buzzards will live in pairs or alone. Small family groups may roost together.

These birds are highly territorial and will defend it against intruders year round.

They are considered to be highly vocal and will make a loud mewing call while in flight.

Common Buzzard

Credit: Zeynel Cebeci, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the common buzzard?

Adult common buzzards have no natural predator. Crows and magpies will mob and harass these birds until they fly away.

As their name suggests the common buzzard is considered common and their population is listed as stable. The population is estimated to be between 2,100,000 and 3,700,000.

They have faced a range of threats over history including some they still face now. In the 1950s they faced a food shortage after a myxomatosis epidemic significantly reduced the rabbit population.

Common buzzards have directly been persecuted through poison baiting and the use of pesticides. They have suffered from habitat loss. An emerging threat is the building of wind energy plants with which these birds may collide.

Quick facts

They may also be known as the Eurasian buzzard.

This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. At that time they were given the binominal name Falco buteo. This was changed to Bueto bueto in 1799. Buteo comes from the Latin for buzzard.

Common Buzzard

Credit: https://vogelskijken.store/, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

Christiansen, P., 2019. Birds. London: Amber Books Ltd.

BirdLife International. 2020. Buteo buteoThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T61695117A181770099. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T61695117A181770099.en. Downloaded on 27 September 2021.

Norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk. 2021. Common buzzard. [online] Available at: <https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-in-norfolk/species-explorer/birds/common-buzzard> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

Trust, W., 2021. [online] Woodland Trust. Available at: <https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/animals/birds/buzzard/> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

BirdWatch Ireland. 2021. Buzzard – BirdWatch Ireland. [online] Available at: <https://birdwatchireland.ie/birds/buzzard/> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

Thai National Parks. 2021. Buteo buteo, Common buzzard. [online] Available at: <https://www.thainationalparks.com/species/common-buzzard> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

User, S., 2021. Buzzard. [online] Hawkandowltrust.org. Available at: <https://hawkandowltrust.org/about-birds-of-prey/buzzard> [Accessed 27 September 2021].

Most Popular Animal this Week


Credit: Under License

Redbubble Store.

Similar Species

Black Breasted Buzzard

Latest bird news stories

Woodland Park Zoo Humboldt Penguin Chick
Woodland Park Zoo Introduce Latest Penguin Chicks
Edinburgh Zoo Penguins
Penguins Undergo Annual Health Check at Edinburgh Zoo

AD

Share via
Copy link