Vaalnest Reviews the Buzzard, Common bird

Posted by Collen on Tue December 8, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium-to-large bird of prey whose range covers most of Europe and extends into Asia. Let’s highlight some facts about this beauty.

Over much of its range, it is resident year-round, but birds from the colder parts of the northern hemisphere typically migrate south (some well into the southern hemisphere) for the northern winter. 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, making it a medium-sized raptor.

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. The plumage can vary in Britain from almost pure white to black, but is usually shades of brown, with a pale 'necklace' of feathers. 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 (98 ft) apart, so cannot be classed as a flock in the general sense, consisting of birds without a mate or territory.

 

 

 

References

BirdLife International (2013). "Buteo buteo". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.

Dunning, John B., Jr., ed. (1992). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.

Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. (2001). Raptors of the World. Illustrated by Kim Franklin, David Mead & Philip Burton. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-12762-3.

Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. (in Latin). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. "F. cera pedibusque luteis, corpore fusco, abdomine paludo maculis fuscis." line feed character in quote in line Position 51

Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-219728-6.

Sinclair, Ian; Hockey, Phil; Tarboton, Warwick (2002). SASOL Birds of Southern Africa. Struik. ISBN 1-86872-721-1.