Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Buzzard, any individual or species of the genus Buteo, of the Falcon family. The bill is rather small and weak, part of the cutting edge of the upper mandible projects slightly; cere large, nostrils oval; tarsi short, strong, scaled or feathered, toes short, with strong claws. The common Buzzard (Buteo vulgaris), distributed generally over Europe, and occurring in Asia and Africa, was formerly common in Britain, but is now becoming rare. The adult male is from 20 to 23 inches long; the plumage is of various shades of brown, with markings of black above and of white beneath. Great variations, however, occur; some birds are of a uniform chocolate brown, others of a yellowish-white with a few brown feathers here and there. Albinos are not uncommon, and there is a fine specimen in the Norwich museum. The female is larger than the male, and generally darker in hue. The Buzzard builds in the forked branches of trees, in crevices in the rocks, or on ledges of cliffs, but prefers to utilise the nest of some other large bird. The eggs, from two to four in number, vary from white to bluish-white, with yellowish-brown streaks and blotches. The flight of these birds is somewhat slow and laboured, and they prey upon reptiles, mice, and small birds. One author asserts their usefulness in preserves in killing off sickly game, and so contributing to the perpetuation of a healthy race. In captivity female buzzards are so much inclined to brood, that they have more than once sat upon hen's eggs and hatched and reared a brood of chickens. The Rough-legged Buzzard (B. lagopus) is more widely distributed, and has the tarsi feathered down to the origin of the toes, whence it is sometimes made the type of a genus - Archibuteo.