Common buzzard, Buteo buteo
The buzzard, or Buteo buteo, is the most common bird of prey in the Benelux. It is an imposing bird, reaching more than half a meter in length. Its wingspan is well over a meter. The sound he makes is a characteristic “meowing”. Its claws are large and yellow, its beak black and yellow. In the spring these birds can be seen in the sky, in their mating dance. The buzzard eats almost anything it sees, from hares to dead animals.
- Rich: Animalia (Animals)
- tribe: Chordata (Chordia animals)
- Class: Aves (Birds)
- Order: Falconiformes (Birds of prey)
- Family: Accipitridae
- Sex: Buteo
- Kind: Buteo buteo
The buzzard is a large bird of prey for the Netherlands. Males grow to half a meter in length, females an additional six centimeters. The wingspan is 120 centimeters for a man, 138 for a woman. This with a weight of 690 grams and 950 grams respectively. The top of the buzzard’s plumage is solid colored, somewhere between dark brown and cream. The underside of the plumage has several transverse bands. The buzzard is easy to recognize in flight. He first beats a few wing beats, then floats for a moment, then strikes again. The buzzard can also be recognized by its broad wings and short, broad tail. Furthermore, it flies remarkably slow. The sound of the buzzard is also recognizable. It’s a bit like a cat’s meow.
A closer look at the buzzard’s beak. This one is black at the end and has a yellow wax coating at the head. The claws are remarkably large and yellow. The buzzard lives for about 26 years in the wild, and up to 30 in captivity.
In the spring the buzzards mate. Have a dance for this? performed in the air, it is seen regularly. The buzzard builds its nest from dead branches high in the tree. The nest is called a horst. Every year a new horst is built, which is cleaned very well. In May the female lays eggs. Usually there are three, but it can also be two or four, in very rare cases there are five or six. The eggs are whitish, with brown streaks. They are almost sixty millimeters long. The buzzard broods on the egg for 33 to 36 days. This is mainly done by the female, but the male occasionally changes her. The young stay with their parents for up to 50 days. Then they take care of themselves, but it takes until their third year of life before they are ready for brooding.
The buzzard is a real opportunist. He eats rabbits, hares, mice, squirrels, birds, frogs and carrion. He can often be seen on the side of the road, eating traffic victims. It searches for its prey by sitting on a lookout, usually not too high, or floating around its area. When it sees prey, it drops on it.
The buzzard occurs all year round in almost all of Europe. In the northern parts, and in a strip through Russia, it only occurs in summer. In Southeast Africa and India it only occurs in winter.
The buzzard prefers to look for areas between the forest and the meadow. It occurs from lowlands to mountain areas. Usually he can be seen along the road, waiting for traffic victims as an easy meal.
The buzzard is certainly not an endangered bird species in the Netherlands. Because of his preference for road victims as food, he has enough to eat. It is the most common bird of prey in the Benelux, with a number that has almost tripled in a few years.