Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. It is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow ‘V’ and the tail is fanned. Birds are variable in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations, all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail. Their plaintive mewing call could be mistaken for a cat.
The recolonisation of lowland England by the Buzzard has been one of the most dramatic events in the birdlife of the British Isles over the last few decades. The fortunes of the Buzzard in Gloucestershire have closely followed national developments. It was quite common until about 1850, but a sharp decline let to it becoming extinct as a breeding bird by about 1890. Breeding recommenced in the 1940’s. By 1980 it was still a scarce breeding bird in the Dean, Wye Valley and parts of the Cotswolds. By the year 2000 well over 500 records were being received each year. In 2007 the second Cotswolds Atlas revealed an astonishing increase from 78 to 289 occupied tetrads since 1987, and estimated a multiplication of breeding pairs by about 20.
Size, habitat and diet
Weight: M: 780g F: 1000g
World distribution: Breeds: Eurasia Winters: South to s Asia and s Africa
Habitat: Wood, moor, heath and farmland
Diet: Mostly small mammals, also birds, reptiles, large insects, earthworms
Winter Buzzard ID – Common Buzzard and Rough-legged Buzzard (BTO)
Summer Buzzard ID – Common Buzzard and Honey Buzzard (BTO)