Buzzards are large birds of prey that live in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and deserts.
They mostly feed on birds or small mammals, or the remains of dead animals (carrion).
They usually place their eggs in a depression in the ground. The average clutch consists of 2 to 3 eggs. The hatchlings are usually covered with white down (varies by species).
Buzzards are graceful flyers – soaring at great heights and moving their wings only to adjust to changing air currents.
In the Old World (Europe, Asia, Africa), buzzards are described as:
- One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings.
- In particular, those in the genus Buteo. In the Old World, members of this genus are named as “buzzards”, but “hawk” is more common in North America.
- Specifically, in Europe, the Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, where Buzzard is often used as a synonym.
- Any raptor which has the word buzzard as part of its name.
In the New World (Americas), buzzards are described as:
- A vulture, particularly the American Black Vulture and Turkey Vulture, or as a general term for vultures and condors.
- In parts of the United States where they are considered pest, particularly in rural areas, a derogatory term for certain birds of prey, such as the Chickenhawk (a common colloquial name referring to both the Red-tailed Hawk and the Cooper’s Hawk), or the Duck hawk (known elsewhere as the Peregrine Falcon). In the U.S., the term “buzzard” is never used to refer to birds of prey, like hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls, outside of this context.
- Rarely, a derogatory term for any large bird that happens to be a scavenger, such as a raven or albatross (in other words, any large bird that is neither predatory nor flightless).
- Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Cape Verde Buzzard, Buteo buteo bannermani
- Madeira Buzzard, Buteo buteo harterti
- Socotra Buzzard, Buteo buteo socotrae
- Steppe Buzzard, Buteo buteo vulpinus
- Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Long-legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus
- Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus
- Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis
- Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus
- Swainson’s Hawk, Buteo swainsoni
- Roadside Hawk, Buteo magnirostris
- Ridgway’s Hawk, Buteo ridgwayi
- White-rumped Hawk, Buteo leucorrhous
- Short-tailed Hawk, Buteo brachyurus
- White-throated Hawk, Buteo albigula
- White-tailed Hawk, Buteo albicaudatus
- Galápagos Hawk, Buteo galapagoensis
- Variable Hawk, Buteo polyosoma
- Red-backed Hawk, Buteo polyosoma
- Puna Hawk, Buteo poecilochrous
- Grey Hawk, Buteo nitidus – formerly in Asturina
- Zone-tailed Hawk, Buteo albonotatus
- Hawaiian Hawk, Buteo solitarius
- Rufous-tailed Hawk, Buteo ventralis
- Mountain Buzzard, Buteo oreophilus
- Forest Buzzard, Buteo oreophilus trizonatus
- Madagascar Buzzard, Buteo brachypterus
- Upland Buzzard, Buteo hemilasius
- Red-necked Buzzard, Buteo auguralis
- Jackal Buzzard, Buteo rufofuscus
- Archer’s Buzzard, Buteo archeri
- Jackal Buzzard, Buteo rufofuscus
Other species known as “buzzard”:
- Long-tailed Honey-buzzard (Henicopernis longicauda)
- Black Honey-buzzard (Henicopernis infuscatus)
- Black-breasted Buzzard (Hamirostra melanosternon)
- Lizard Buzzard (Kaupifalco monogrammicus)
- Grasshopper Buzzard (Butastur rufipennis)
- White-eyed Buzzard (Butastur teesa)
- Rufous-winged Buzzard (Butastur liventer)
- Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus)
- Black-chested Buzzard-eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus)
- The honey-buzzards, genus Pernis, superficially resemble Buteo buzzards, hence the name, but are specialist feeders on wasp nests and larvae.