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Overview

Brief Summary

When attempting to attract a mate, male buzzards fly in a very distinguishing manner known as the rollar coaster. Buzzards mate for life. Both male and female contribute in building a new nest or rebuilding an old one. With their long, broad wings and short stubby tail, they are relatively sluggish flyers, constantly interchanging between short glides and flapping their wings. That is why they hunt mostly mice. However, they are fantastic gliders as they catch the currents. If you see a raptor slowly circling in the sky, it is often a buzzard.
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Comprehensive Description

Summary

"Buteo buteo, also called the Common Buzzard, is a medium to large sized bird of prey whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia."
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Distribution

"Distribution size (in km2): 17600000. Global range: Palearctic, Africa, South Asia. Indian subcontinent range: West, North & South Pakistan, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, South Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, Maldives."
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Endemic Distribution

Not endemic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

"A stocky Buzzard with variable dark and light plumage phases like other Buzzards. Broad, rounded, black tipped wings show whitish patches in overhead flight. One third to half of the legs feathered in front and naked portions scutellated. Tail of moderate length. Three subspecies seen in the Indian subcontinent: B. b. refectus - resident in the Himalayas is dark to rufous brown with variable amounts of white on underparts and plain sandy brown tail or dull brown tail with dark bars. B. b. japonicus - a winter visitor, has a pale head and underparts, variable dark streaking on breast, brown patch on belly and thighs, and dark barred grey-brown tail. B. b. vulpinus - a winter visitor, has an extremely variable appearance but with a bright rufous tail."
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Size

Length: 51-56cm. Wingspan: 1.13-1.28m. Weight: 0.55-1.2kg.
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Length: 50-57cm;
Wingspan: 1.13-1.28m;
Weight: 0.55-1.2kg

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Diagnostic Description

SubSpecies Varieties Races

"(a) Buteo buteo buteo (Linnaeus, 1758) - Europe E to Finland, Romania and Turkey; also Madeira; winters in S of range, and irregularly S to Liberia. (b) Buteo buteo arrigonii Picchi, 1903 - Corsica and Sardinia. (c) Buteo buteo rothschildi Swann, 1919 - Azores. (d) Buteo buteo insularum Floericke, 1903 - Canary Is. (e) Buteo buteo harterti - Madeira, doubtfully distinct from nominate Buteo (f) Buteo buteo vulpinus Gloger, 1833 - N Scandinavia and European Russia E to R Yenisey, and S to N Caucasus and C Asia (Altai, Tien Shan); winters mainly in Africa S of Sahara, and also in S Asia. (g) Buteo buteo menetriesi Bogdanov, 1879 - S Crimea and Caucasus S to E Turkey and N Iran. (h) Buteo buteo japonicus Temminck & Schlegel, 1844 - L Baikal area and Mongolia E through Amurland and Manchuria to Sakhalin, Japan and Kuril Is, and S to Tibet, and possibly NW India; winters in S Asia, from India to Japan. (i) Buteo buteo refectus Portenko, 1929 - W China and perhaps Himalayas. (j) Buteo buteo toyoshimai Momiyama, 1927 - Izu Is and Bonin Is. (k) Buteo buteo oshiroi Nagahisa Kuroda, 1971 - Daito Is (to E of C Ryukyu Is). (l) Buteo buteo burmanicus (Himalayan Buzzard): Himalayas and western China"
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Look Alikes

"Immature Black Kite, Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus),"
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour Populations in Scandinavia and most of the former Soviet Union are migratory, wintering in Africa and southern Asia. Those elsewhere are resident (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Migrants move south between August and November and make the return journey between February and May. Birds tend to occur singly or in pairs, sometimes forming small family groups at roosts. However, they can migrate in groups, and as birds avoid sea crossings (and even freshwater bodies) as far as possible, they form huge concentrations at peninsulas and narrow straits (Brown et al. 1982, Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Migration is strictly diurnal, and also often follows mountain ranges and ridges (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat It inhabits a wide variety of habitats but requires at least some tree cover for nesting and roosting; ideal habitat appears to be forest edge, or mosaics of forest and open areas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet It is versatile depending on the prey animals available, with small mammals usually predominating, but in some areas invertebrates making up the majority (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site The nest is built on a fork or branch of a large tree, usually near to forest edge (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information Although versatile in its habitat choice, trees are required particularly on its breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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General Habitat

"A. Global: Habitat systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater. Forest Dependency: Low. Altitude: 0 - 2500 m. Altitudinal limits: 0 - 4500 m. General Habitats: Forest - Temperate, Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland, Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane; Shrubland- Temperate; Grassland -Subtropical/Tropical Dry; Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands, Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha); Artificial/Terrestrial - Arable Land, Pastureland. Breeding Habitats: Artificial landscapes (terrestrial) - Arable land, Pastureland; Forest - Temperate forest; Shrubland - Temperate shrubland; Inland Wetlands - Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands. Passage Habitats: Grassland - Subtropical/tropical (lowland) dry grassland; Inland Wetlands - Freshwater lakes (>8 ha) - permanent. B. Indian subcontinent: Hunts in open country, but breeds on the fringes of woodlands."
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Migration

"Full migrant. In India, resident breeding populations in the Himalayas from Gilgit eastwards. In winter, widespread visitor to the foothills and peninsula. Bird populations increased by extralimital migrants."
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Trophic Strategy

"Carnivorous. Mainly feeds on birds like pheasants and crows, small mammals like rabbits, voles and mice, reptiles like snakes and lizards. Eats carrion and is also seen hunting for worms and insects like earthworms and beetles in recently ploughed fields."
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Associations

Known prey organisms

Buteo buteo preys on:
Tyto alba
Arvicola terrestris
Myopus schisticolor

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Population Biology

"4,000,000 mature individuals (2009)"
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General Ecology

Predation

Buzzards are know to feed on small mammals such as voles, mice and rabbits, birds including crows, invertebrates including beetles, earthworms and many insects. In southern parts of its' distribution, it also predates on reptiles such as lizards.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Behaviour

"During migration, may form flocks which fly long distances with minimum effort by riding thermals. Over gorges where thermals are absent, they ride up drafts, sometimes in the company of vultures. Over tree-tops show slow sailing flight. They have a plainitive 'peea-ay' call that sounds similar to a cat's meow."
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Life Expectancy

Maximum longevity: 28.8 years (wild).
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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 28.8 years (wild)
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Reproduction

"Age for sexual maturity: 3 years. Mating season: Usually March to May. In India, ill defined. Mating system: Monogamous with birds forming life-long pairs. Mating ritual: Males usually attract females in early spring with a ritual aerial display, where he rises high up in the sky, to turn and plummet twisting and turning downwards in a spiral. He then rises immediately upwards to repeat this exercise. Nest location: Built on ledges or cliffs or on ground on steep hillsides. Also in fork or branches of large trees near the edge of woods. Nest: Large stick platform lined with grass and herbs. Clutch size: 2-4. Incubation period: 33-38 days."
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Buteo buteo

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 16
Specimens with Barcodes: 39
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Buteo buteo

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 12 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

GTGACATTTATCAATCGATGATTATTCTCAACCAATCACAAAGACATCGGCACCCTATACCTAATCTTCGGTGCCTGAGCCGGTATAGTCGGCACCGCCCTCAGCCTACTTATTCGTGCAGAACTCGGCCAACCAGGCACACTCCTAGGTGACGACCAGATCTACAACGTAATCGTTACCGCACATGCCTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATACCAATTATGATCGGAGGCTTCGGAAACTGACTTGTTCCACTCATAATCGGCGCCCCCGATATAGCCTTCCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTTCCTCCATCCTTTCTCCTCCTCCTAGCCTCCTCAACAGTAGAAGCAGGAGCCGGCACTGGATGAACTGTCTATCCCCCACTAGCTGGCAACATAGCCCATGCCGGAGCTTCAGTAGACCTAGCCATCTTCTCCCTCCACTTAGCCGGAGTCTCGTCCATTCTAGGAGCAATCAACTTTATCACAACCGCCATCAACATAAAGCCCCCAGCCCTCTCCCAGTACCAAACACCCCTATTCGTATGATCTGTCCTCATTACCGCTGTCCTTCTACTACTCTCACTCCCAGTCCTAGCCGCCGGCATTACCATACTACTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACAACATTCTTTGACCCCGCCGGCGGAGGTGATCCTATCCTATACCAACATCTCTTTTGATTCTTCGGACACCCAGAAGTTTACATCCTAATCCTACCCGGCTTCGGAATTATCTCCCACGTAGTAACATACTATGCAGGCAAAAAAGAACCATTCGGTTACATAGGAATAGTATGAGCCATACTATCAATCGGATTCCTAGGGTTCATCGTATGAGCTCATCACATATTTACAGTAGGGATAGACGTGGACACCCGAGCATACTTCACATCTGCTACTATAATCATTGCTATCCCAACTGGTATTAAAGTCTTCAGCTGACTAGCAACGCTCCACGGAGGAACTATCAAATGAGACCCTCCAATATTATGAGCCCTTGGCTTCATCTTCCTCTTTACCATCGGAGGCCTAACAGGAATCGTCCTAGCTAACTCCTCACTAGACATCGCTCTACACGACGCATACTATGTAGTTGCCCACTTCCACTACGTCCTCTCAATAGGAGCTGTCTTTGCCATTCTAGCAGGATTCACCCACTGATTCCCTCTATTAACTGGATTCACCCTCCACCCCACATGAGCTAAAGCCCACTTCGGGGTTATATTCACAGGAGTAAATCTAACTTTCTTCCCACAACACTTCCTAGGCCTCGCCGGAATACCTCGACGATATTCCGACTACCCAGACGCCTATACCCTATGAAACACCCTATCCTCTATCGGCTCACTAATCTCAATAACAGCCGTAATCATACTAATATTCATCATCTGAGAAGCCTTTGCCTCAAAACGAAAAATCCTACAACCAGAACTAACCACAACCAATGTCGAATGAATCCACGGCTGCCCACCTCCATACCACACCTTTGAAGAACCAGCCTTTGTTCAAGTACAAGAAAGG
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.


History
  • 2012
    Least Concern
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"Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (ver 3.1) Year Published: 2010 Assessor/s: BirdLife International Reviewer/s: Calvert, R., Butchart, S., Bird, J."
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Status in Egypt

Regular passage visitor and winter visitor.

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Population

Population
The population is estimated at 4,000,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001).


Population Trend
Increasing
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Unset
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Threats

Major Threats
In the U.K., it suffered a significant reduction in available prey in the 1950s when a myxomatosis epidemic killed off c.99% of the rabbit population. The most important historical threat though has been from persecution, including through poisoned bait traps, with pesticides and habitat loss also causing some declines (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is highly vulnerable to the impacts of potential wind energy developments (Strix 2012).
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Main threats include killing by game-keepers and reduced prey populations.
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Legislation

"CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) India Listed Species:Yes. Appendix:II. CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Global Listed Species:Yes. Appendix:II. AEWA (Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds) Listed Species:Yes. Appendix:II. IWPA (Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972) Listed Species:No."
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Wikipedia

Common buzzard

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium-to-large bird of prey, whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. It is usually resident year-round, except in the coldest parts of its range, and in the case of one subspecies.[dubious ][The map shows something else]

Description[edit]

The common buzzard measures between 40 and 58 cm (16 and 23 in) in length with a 109–136 cm (43–54 in) wingspan and a body mass of 427–1,364 g (0.941–3.007 lb), making it a medium-sized raptor.[2][3]

This broad-winged raptor has a wide variety of plumages, and in Europe can be confused with the similar rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus) and the only distantly related European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), which mimics the common buzzard's plumage for a degree of protection from northern goshawks[citation needed]. The plumage can vary in Britain from almost pure white to black, but is usually shades of brown, with a pale 'necklace' of feathers.

Systematics[edit]

The common buzzard was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as Falco buteo.[4] Buzzard subspecies fall into two groups. The western Buteo group is mainly resident or short-distance migrants. They are:

The eastern vulpinus group includes

Two resident forms on islands close to Africa are often assigned to the first group, but appear to be distinct species, more closely related to the African long-legged buzzard, based on biogeography and preliminary mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Clouet & Wink 2000):

At Hamerton Zoo, England

Behaviour[edit]

In flight, Devon, England. There are around 40,000 breeding pairs in the United Kingdom

The common buzzard breeds in woodlands, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land. It eats mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. A great opportunist, it adapts well to a varied diet of pheasant, rabbit, other small mammals to medium mammals, snakes and lizards, and can often be seen walking over recently ploughed fields looking for worms and insects.[citation needed]

Buzzards do not normally form flocks, but several may be seen together on migration or in good habitat. The Victorian writer on Dartmoor, William Crossing, noted he had on occasions seen flocks of 15 or more at some places. Though a rare occurrence, as many as 20 buzzards can be spotted in one field area, approximately 30 metres apart, so cannot be classed as a flock in the general sense, consisting of birds without a mate or territory. They are fiercely territorial, and, though rare, fights do break out if one strays onto another pair's territory, but dominant displays of aggression will normally see off the interloper. Pairs mate for life. To attract a mate (or impress his existing mate) the male performs a ritual aerial display before the beginning of spring. This spectacular display is known as 'the roller coaster'. He will rise high up in the sky, to turn and plummet downward, in a spiral, twisting and turning as he comes down. He then rises immediately upward to repeat the exercise.

The call is a plaintive peea-ay, similar to a cat's meow.

Steppe buzzard[edit]

The steppe buzzard, B. (b.) vulpinus breeds from east Europe[where?] eastward to the Far East, excluding Japan. It is a long-distance migrant, excepting some north Himalayan birds, and winters in Africa, India and southeastern Asia. In the open country favoured on the wintering grounds, steppe buzzards are often seen perched on roadside telephone poles.

The steppe buzzard is some times split off as a separate species, B. vulpinus. Compared to the nominate form, it is slightly smaller (45–50 cm long), longer winged and longer tailed. There are two colour morphs: the rufous form which gives this subspecies its scientific name (vulpes is Latin for "fox"), and a dark grey form.

The tail of vulpinus is paler than the nominate form, and often quite rufous, recalling North American red-tailed hawk. The upper wings have pale primary patches, and the primary flight feathers are also paler when viewed from below. Adults have a black trailing edge to the wings, and both morphs often have plain underparts, lacking the breast band frequently seen in B. b. buteo.

Forest buzzard[edit]

The forest buzzard, B. (b.) trizonatus,[citation needed] is another form sometimes upgraded to a full species, though most recent authorities have placed it as a subspecies of another species, the mountain buzzard, B. oreophilus. This is a resident breeding species in woodlands in southern and eastern South Africa.

It is very similar to the abundant summer migrant steppe buzzard, but the adult can be distinguished with a good view by its whiter underparts and unbarred flanks. The juvenile differs from the same-age steppe buzzard by its white front and tear-shaped flank streaks.

The forest buzzard, as its name implies, inhabits evergreen woodlands, including introduced eucalyptus and pines, whereas the steppe buzzard prefers more open habitats. However, habitat alone is not a good indicator for these forms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Buteo buteo". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  3. ^ Raptors of the World by Ferguson-Lees, Christie, Franklin, Mead & Burton. Houghton Mifflin (2001), ISBN 0-618-12762-3.
  4. ^ (Latin) Linnaeus, C (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). "F. cera pedibusque luteis, corpore fusco, abdomine paludo maculis fuscis." 
  • Clouet, Michel and Wink, Michael (2000): The Buzzards of Cape Verde (Buteo (buteo) bannermani) and Socotra (Buteo buteo spp.) - First results of a genetic analysis based on nucleotide sequences of the cytochrome b gene. Alauda 68(1): 55-58. PDF fulltext
  • Ferguson-Lees, Christie, Franklin, Mead and Burton Raptors of the World ISBN 0-7136-8026-1
  • Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterstrom and Grant, Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0-00-219728-6
  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
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