Common Buzzard

The Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) is resident throughout the UK, often seen gliding through the countryside

Buzzard on a post © Pete Walkden
Buzzard on a post © Pete Walkden

Medium sized with broad wings and medium length tail, often seen perching on telegraph poles, fence posts or on the ground hunting for worms in competition with corvids. Glides in flight with a shallow ‘V’ to the wings, which are broad and rounded; the tail often appears fan-like and has a barred appearance. Buzzards often betray their presence with their ‘mewing’ call, which is given mainly in flight during the Spring.

Plumage colouration can vary dramatically, from dark brown – almost black, through to very pale in some individuals. There is little variation in size between males and females, although females are a little bigger.

Length: 46 – 58cm; wingspan: 110-130cm

Status in UK
31,000 – 44,000 pairs, increasing; GREEN listed; resident

Population Trends

Buzzard populations have greatly increased over the past 25 years and their distribution throughout the UK has also increased in line with this, making them the most common and widespread resident raptor. Population increases are linked to a reduction in persecution (although this still occurs), increased availiblity of food (rabbits, since the decline in myxomatosis) and therefore increased success in breeding.

Habitat and Distribution
Common on farmland, woodland, moorland, scrub and marshland throughout the UK. Spread to almost every county in mainland UK, apart from a few places in Eastern Scotland.

Buzzards start to breed in their third year; a single clutch of 2-3 eggs being layed.

Mainly small mammals including rabbits; also birds, reptiles, worms and carrion.

Other Diurnal Birds of Prey