Wild Birds

Long-legged Buzzards

Long-legged Buzzards

The Long-legged Buzzards (Buteo rufinus) is a bird of prey.

Distribution / Range

It prefers the dry open plains of Turkey, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

The breeding population in Greece is ca. 60 pairs. Recent sightings seem to indicate that there is a small population in the Apulian region of south-eastern Italy.

They prefer open, uncultivated areas, with high bushes, trees, cliffs or hillocks are favoured as nesting areas.

Younger birds disperse north of breeding grounds and there are records from Northern Europe.


It is similar in appearance to the Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), but larger in size (approximate length, 24″) and more robust.

There are many different colour forms, but usually Long-leggeds have clear orange tint to plumage, red or orange tail, pale head and largely white underwings.

There is usually a distinctive black carpal patch and dark trailing edge to wing. Rump and trousers are often dark or deep rufous.

Plumage varies from ghostly pale individuals to very dark birds. Some plumages are almost similar to those of Eastern vulpinus race of Common Buzzard, but Long-legged has longer wings and is more like Rough-Legged buzzard or even a small eagle.

Diet / Feeding

It feeds mostly on small rodents, although it will also take lizards, snakes, small birds and large insects.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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