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 Common Buzzard  (Buteo buteo)


The Buteo genus (the buzzard family) occurs worldwide with the exception of the Indian sub-continent and Australia. In the United States, many members of the Buteo genus are referred to as Hawks. The European Buzzard (Buteo buteo and subspecies) breeds throughout Europe (including Britain), central Asia to eastern Siberia and Japan. Some members of the species migrate in winter to Africa, north India, Burma, Malaya, Indo-China and South China.
In Britain the buzzard does not migrate, and rarely moves more than 30 miles (50 kms) from its point of origin, although larger distances have been recorded on occasion.


In Britain, their main prey items are rabbits, young hares, moles, rats, voles, mice, shrews, squirrels and weasels.
It hunts mostly from a perch, but also soars high in the sky, searching for prey, or even walks about awkwardly in ploughed fields, looking for invertebrates.
It will also, when times are hard, take birds (slow ones!) and carrion.

The average daily food requirement for each adult bird is less than 5 oz (less than 140g). This varies with time of year, weather, size of adult etc.


The call of the common buzzard is a clear, loud, unmistakeable mew.
This is commonly heard when soaring, and especially during the breeding season.
There is also a certain amount of chuckling and chattering at the nest site, but the mewing always predominates.

Status and behaviour in the wild

Buzzards can most frequently be seen in Britain soaring on thermals. This happens all year round.
During the breeding season they perform spectacular aerial displays, wheeling and tumbling. One or both birds circle high in the air, and their dancing includes stooping and rising almost vertically. During the stoop the lower bird turns and parries with its talons, but contact is limited to wing-touching - all this is accompanied by very loud calling.

The common buzzard is believed to mate for life.

As with most birds of prey, breeding success is dependent more on food supply than on any other single factor (although weather, disturbance etc. do play a part).
The outbreak of myxomatosis in the 1950s was a disaster not only for rabbits (99% of their number had disappeared by 1956), but also for buzzards for whom the rabbit had become the main prey item. The buzzards changed their diet to carrion, then fell prey to the results of toxic pesticides. It took until 1983 to return to the 1954 peak of 12-15,000 pairs in mainland UK.
The numbers are now (despite some persecution) growing nicely, but myxomatosis is back!

 Source: Internet
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