Buzzard - Buteo buteo


    The commonest 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'. It is variable in colour from all dark brown to birds with pale heads and breasts, most have a "necklace" of darker feathers over their throat and breast. All have dark wingtips and an un-banded tail. The call is a plaintive peea-ay, similar to a cat's meow.

    Identification difficulty

    Greatest numbers in Scotland, Wales, the Lake District and south-west England. Found on farmland with wooded hills, moorland and in more arable areas to the east where it is spreading. Look for birds soaring over wooded hillsides in fine weather, or perched on fence posts and pylons.

    When to see it

    All year round, but these birds soar, display and call most in spring.

    Life History

    It breeds in woodland, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land. It eats mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. Pairs mate for life. To attract a mate (or impress his existing mate) the male performs a ritual aerial display before the beginning of spring.

    UK Status

    Fairly widespread and common in Britain

    VC55 Status

    Becoming fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland as a breeding bird and as a bird of passage.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map