european nature gallery


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Common buzzard

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo) is a medium-to-large bird of prey which has a large range. A member of the genus Buteo, it is a member of the family Accipitridae. The species lives in most of Europe and extends its range into Asia, mainly western Russia. Over much of its range, it is a year-round resident. However, buzzards from the colder parts of the Northern Hemisphere as well as those that breed in the eastern part of their range typically migrate south for the northern winter, many culminating their journey as far as South Africa. The common buzzard is an opportunistic predator that can take a wide variety of prey, but it feeds mostly on small mammals, especially rodents such as voles. It typically hunts from a perch. Like most accipitrid birds of prey, it builds a nest, typically in trees in this species, and is a devoted parent to a relatively small brood of young. The common buzzard appears to be the most common diurnal raptor in Europe, as estimates of its total global population run well into the millions. The common buzzard is a medium-sized raptor that is highly variable in plumage. Most buzzards are distinctly round headed with a somewhat slender bill, relatively long wings that either reach or fall slightly short of the tail tip when perched, a fairly short tail, and somewhat short and mainly bare tarsi. They can appear fairly compact in overall appearance but may also appear large relative to other commoner raptorial birds such as kestrels and sparrowhawks. The common buzzard measures between 40 and 58 cm (16 and 23 in) in length with a 109–140 cm (3 ft 7 in–4 ft 7 in) wingspan. Females average about 2-7% larger than males linearly and weigh about 15% more. Body mass can show considerable variation. Buzzards from Great Britain alone can vary from 427 to 1,183 g (0.941 to 2.608 lb) in males, while females there can range from 486 to 1,370 g (1.071 to 3.020 lb). The common buzzard is a generalist predator which hunts a wide variety of prey given the opportunity. Their prey spectrum extents to a wide variety of vertebrates including mammals, birds (from any age from eggs to adult birds), reptiles, amphibiansand, rarely, fish, as well as to various invertebrates, mostly insects. Young animals are often attacked, largely the nidifugous young of various vertebrates. In total well over 300 prey species are known to be taken by common buzzards. Furthermore, prey size can vary from tiny beetles, caterpillars and ants to large adult grouse and rabbits up to nearly twice their body mass. When attacking birds, common buzzards chiefly prey on nestlings and fledglings of small to medium-sized birds, largely passerines but also a variety of gamebirds, sometimes also injured, sickly or unwary adults. While capable of overpowering birds larger than itself, the common buzzard is usually considered to lack the agility necessary to capture many adult birds, even gamebirds which would presumably be weaker fliers considering their relatively heavy bodies and small wings. The amount of fledgling and younger birds preyed upon relative to adults is variable.

(latin: buteo buteo)

Tuesday, 23 July 2019
created by: Marek Sarvas - výroba stránok