Buzzard

Buzzard

Key facts

Scientific name: Buteo buteo

Status: Resident breeder and passage migrant

Breeding birds: 57,000 – 79,000 pairs

Conservation status: Green

Length: 50 – 57 cm

Wingspan: 113 – 128 cm

Weight: 550 – 1350 g

Description

Buzzards have dark brown upperparts with much paler underparts and reddish-brown streaks on their bellies. There is a pale band across the breast and the tail is lightly barred.

They have yellow eyes, black bills and yellow legs and feet. Juvenile buzzards are similar to adults but have paler underparts.

Buzzards have a fairly slow, clumsy takeoff but once in flight it soars easily and performs wing-beats and can dive at great speed. The wings form a shallow V-shape when soaring.

Nesting

Buzzards breed between March and May. They build their nests in tall trees in a fork of a branch, close to the trunk. The nest is flat and bulky made from sticks, twigs and small branches and lined with green leaves.

Buzzards lay 2-5 smooth eggs, which are white with purple patches. The eggs are incubated for 33-35 days and chicks fledge at 50-55 days.

Although both parents feed the chicks for the first few days the male will spend most of his time hunting and bringing food back to the nest.

Feeding

Buzzards feed on small mammals such as voles, rabbits and mice. They will also eat other birds, small reptiles and amphibians and insects.

Buzzard

Where to see them

Buzzards are best seen in Scotland, Wales, the Lake District and South West England but breed across the whole of the UK.

They can be found across the countryside including woodlands, moorland, pastures but will also venture into villages and even city centres perching on fence posts and pylons as they scan for prey.

Listen

Piotr Szczypinski/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Buzzards are not popular with falconers as they are considered too lazy to be taught to fly at live prey.

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