The buzzard is the most common of Britain's larger birds of prey.

Buzzard Habits

Buzzard - Flickr © Des Irwin CC BY 2.0 Daily Life: Buzzards hunt during the day and are usually seen on their own, or in pairs. A buzzard spends long periods soaring, holding its straight wings motionless, with the tips of the primary feathers curved upwards and the tail spread out.

The bird has very keen eyesight and as it soars, it scans the ground below for prey. Rabbits are its favourite prey and on spotting one of these, it swoops down quickly and accurately, grasping and killing the animal with its sharp, strong talons. It uses its hooked, pointed beak to rip the flesh from the body. The bird also frequently perches to watch out for prey, keeping an eye out from trees and fence posts.

Breeding: In the early parts of the breeding season, buzzards perform graceful aerobatics, soaring, tumbling and looping the loop, trying to attract a partner. A pair is often seen gliding in circles around each other; the male glides a little above the female and both face one another. This displays flight indicates that there is a nest nearby. Sometimes the display consists of a series of dives. The bird glides steeply down with half-closed wings and then soars up again, almost vertically, to repeat the glide.

The buzzards build a large, bulky nest in a tree or on a cliff ledge. When in a tree, sticks are used to make a flattish platform which is lined with finer twigs, bracken, heather, grass or moss. Fresh sprigs of foliage or ferns are used to 'decorate' the nest and are regularly replaced.

Normally 2 or 3 eggs are laid, but up to 6 have been recorded. They are white or bluish-white with blotches of red-brown and pale lilac. Incubation lasts for 33-35 days, beginning with the first egg, so the chicks hatch at intervals. They are covered in greyish-white down.

The female guards the chicks to begin with, whilst the male brings food. He leaves the food at the edge of the nest, where it is picked up by the female and fed to the young. When the chicks are a week or so old, both parents continue feeding them while they learn to hunt for themselves.

If food is short then the younger, weaker chicks may die but in plentiful seasons, the whole brood will be reared.

Read More: Buzzards and Humans

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