Female Buzzard

Buzzard

Scientific name: Buteo buteo

Did you know: Buzzards have excellent eyesight that allows them to spot prey from great distances, and they can even see ultraviolet light which helps them locate prey that might be difficult for humans to see!

What Do Buzzards Look Like? (how to identify them)

Buzzards are large birds of prey with broad, rounded wings and a relatively short tail. Their appearance can vary greatly, ranging from dark brown to much paler shades, but they typically have dark wingtips and a finely striped tail. These majestic birds have a wingspan of around 120 cm and can weigh up to 1 kg.

Their beaks are sharp and hooked, perfect for tearing into prey, and they have large, powerful feet armed with sharp talons. When gliding and soaring, buzzards often hold their wings in a shallow ‘V’ shape with their tails fanned out, making them easily recognisable in the sky.

Differences Between Male and Female Buzzards

While male and female buzzards share similar physical characteristics, there are a few subtle differences. The females tend to be larger than their male counterparts, weighing between 690-1300 grams compared to the males’ weight range of 545-1000 grams. 

Additionally, the females usually have broader wings and a more robust overall appearance.

What Do Buzzards Eat?

Buzzards are opportunistic predators with a diverse diet. Their primary prey consists of small mammals like voles, mice, and rabbits, but they are also known to hunt birds and large insects when other prey is scarce. 

These adaptable raptors will even scavenge on carrion and roadkill when necessary, making them incredibly versatile hunters.

Where Do Buzzards Live? (inc. migration info)

Buzzards are found throughout the UK and can thrive in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, grasslands, farmlands, and even urban areas with sufficient green spaces. They prefer to roost and nest in wooded areas but hunt in open spaces where they can soar high and spot their prey from above.

While many buzzards in the UK are year-round residents, those from colder northern regions and parts of Eastern Europe typically migrate southwards during the winter months, some journeying as far as South Africa to escape the harsh conditions.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Buzzards)

Buzzards have a distinctive, mournful call that can sometimes be mistaken for a cat’s meow. Their high-pitched “kee-yaaa” call is often heard before the bird is seen, as they soar high above searching for prey. 

During the breeding season, male buzzards perform impressive aerial displays, known as the “rollercoaster,” where they fly upwards before plummeting down, twisting and turning in an effort to impress potential mates.

Fun Buzzard Facts (kid friendly)

  • Buzzards are masters of the skies and can soar effortlessly for hours, using their broad wings to glide on thermal currents.
  • These birds have such keen eyesight that they can spot a small rodent from over a mile away!
  • Buzzards are known for their strong family bonds and usually mate for life, fiercely defending their territory from any intruders.
  • Despite their fierce reputation, buzzards are often “mobbed” by smaller birds like crows and magpies, who harass the larger predator until it flies away.
  • Young buzzards may continue to be fed by their parents for several weeks after fledging the nest.
  • Buzzards can live for up to 25 years in the wild, with the oldest known individual reaching an impressive 32 years of age.
  • These resourceful birds have been known to catch insects mid-flight, thanks to their incredible aerial agility.
  • Buzzards are able to see ultraviolet light, giving them an edge in locating prey that might be invisible to human eyes.
  • The name “buzzard” is thought to have originated from the bird’s distinctive buzzing call.

Buzzard Video

Facts About The Buzzard

Diet: Small mammals, birds and carrion (when other pray is not available, they eat earthworms and large insects).
Bird Family: Kites, hawks and eagles
Length: 50 - 58cm
Wingspan: 112 - 129cm
Weight: Males: 545 - 1000g. Females: 690 - 1300g
Scientific Name: Buteo buteo

The Buzzard Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Buzzard Images

Male Buzzard Male
Female Buzzard Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile