Common Buzzard

European Buzzard at Wingham Wildlife Park

Size
This is a medium sized bird of prey measuring between 51cm and 57cm.

Habitat and Distribution
These birds prefer woodland for nesting but do most of their hunting over moors and agricultural areas, which tend to be very rich in food sources for these birds.  These birds live across all of Europe, excluding Iceland and the far North of Scandinavia and also covers much of Asia and areas of Africa, where it is absent from the Western and many of the Central countries.

Age
These birds typically live for 12 years however the maximum recorded was a Danish bird which lived for 28 years and 9 months.

Diet
As a bird of prey, this opportunistic feeder will adapt well to which ever food sources are most accessible in its particular range.  Even though it favours small mammals such as rats, mice and rabbits, it will also find carrion, insects, birds and reptiles to eat if necessary.

Groups and Breeding
Buzzards do not live in flocks however in good habitats there may be several living peacefully in close proximity with one another, as long as their territories are not breached by other birds, in which case fierce territorial fights can break out.  In spring males without a female will perform elaborate aerobatic displays to attract a female which they will then pair up with for life.  The female will lay 2 to 3 eggs which hatch after 34 days.

Threats
This bird of prey has few natural predators and thanks to being protected from collection for the pet trade has very few threats to its wild population.

Interesting Facts

  • The Common Buzzard is England’s largest resident bird of prey.
  • The talons and beaks of the females are considerably larger than the males.