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© Derek Radcliffe

Common Buzzard
(Buteo buteo)

A large thickset bird of prey, measuring 51-57 cm the female being larger than the male.




Appearance – a rounded head, short neck, wings rounded with “fingered ends” and a short broad tail. Colour is variable but generally medium brown with a pale crescent on the breast. Buzzards soar in the sky in slow wide circles searching for prey, they have excellent eyesight allowing them to spot prey as small as a beetle from some distance.

Voice – a mewing “peeuu” which may be heard at any time of the year.

Habitat – where there are trees and crags, hilly moorland areas.

Food – small mammals especially voles and rabbits, birds e.g. young pigeons and crows, also insects, reptiles, earthworms and carrion.

Population – it has the largest population of any raptor in the Britain with 40,000 pairs breeding and numbers on the increase.

Conservation – once lived extensively across Britain but numbers fell dramatically in the 1950s due to rabbits getting myxomatosis and the use of toxic chemicals, and unlawful persecution. Many birds are still killed each year by poisoning.