Species group: Birds of Prey
Other common names: Eurasian Buzzard
Scientific name: Buteo buteo buteo
The Common Buzzard is the widespread, common, highly visible buteo of Europe, where it's found in a variety of open habitats such as farms, marshes, and meadows. B. buteo is a diverse species with a complex taxonomy, but the nominate subspecies is the one found in the United Kingdom and western Europe. In decades gone by, U.K. falconers experimented with it as a beginner's bird, but it has a fatal flaw – many individuals refuse to hunt. Today, the cooperative Harris's Hawk would be recommended instead, while the Common Buzzard is vanishing from falconry. The species is seldom bred today, despite a legal requirement that only captive-bred birds may be used for falconry in the United Kingdom. The general consensus is that this bird is best enjoyed in the wild.
Because of the licensing and expertise required to be a responsible owner of a bird of prey, the following information is offered only as a hint of what you will need to learn to work with Common Buzzards. There is no substitute for hands-on training, which we strongly recommend that you pursue before trying to acquire any bird of prey.
The widespread Common Buzzard will nest in a tree in a woodland area that allows it to hunt in more open territory – perhaps one reason it can be easily seen not too far from human towns, suburbs, or even agricultural areas that have left some standing forest.
A mid-sized bird of prey, with broad wings and a fairly calm manner.
Male: 806 grams (28.4 oz.)
Female: 938 grams (33 oz.)
49 centimeters (19 in.)
25 - 28 years
Behavior / temperament:
Jemima Parry-Jones, third generation falconer, noted in her 1994 book, Training Birds of Prey that the Common Buzzard can be readily trained to become something of a pet that follows you around. She also advised that it's considerably more frustrating to try to teach it to hunt. In her colorful words, this species is, “A bird happy to fail in catching things, especially with a human 'mug' to feed it.”
A good Common Buzzard pen, aviary, or mews will provide shade from direct sunlight in the summer and protection from extremes of winter weather. A roof that completely covers the structure is stronger and offers more protection from high winds. Good drainage, a selection of perches at different heights, and possibly some enrichment toys may be added to the pen. Like most birds of prey, they will enjoy some clean, shallow water for bathing.
The Common Buzzard is a carnivore that needs to consume some whole prey in order to allow its digestive system to work properly. Successful falconers warn against the practice of only feeding one food, such as day old chicks or jack rabbits. A varied diet that includes chicks, rabbits, rodents, quail, and more is much healthier. It should also be provided with water.
Written by Elaine Radford
quick learner, amazing bird, free flight
natural diet, carrion, worms, carcass
A terrible hunter, but a very fun bird for beginners
The common buzzard is widely owned but is not a particularly good bird for hunting with. Often, these buzzards are more interested in feeding upon worms than chasing large quarry. The natural diet of these raptors includes a lot of invertebrates and carrion as well as live prey, which often results in a piece of a rotting carcass at your feet instead of fresh prey. Occasionally, my bird (Wormtail, the third bird of prey I ever owned, named for his lust after worms) would catch the slowest, smallest, and stupidest of the bunnies, but even that was rare. Their preferred method of finding prey is 'still hunting': sitting on a post to look for food. Falconers mimic this behavior by putting their buzzard on a long pole and then carrying around the pole. Buzzards will use also wind-hovering to find their prey. They are comfortable searching for beetles and earthworms by walking around on the ground. Their ability to choke down whatever they find makes the common buzzard a very easy bird to feed.
The buzzard is more friendly then other birds, probably because buzzards don't usually have to fight for their prey, which makes them great for people who don't have tons of experience in falconry..
From vintners Aug 10 2015 11:46AM
My Buzzard Birdy
She was an amazing bird. It was my first bird as a falconer. At first I was scary how to train them because I never had a bird standing on my hand before Birdy. But it was an amazing experience. I trained her every day. She is a good bird for beginners. You can't hunt with them because they are slow. They can't catch any kind of birds but if you are lucky and you got a bird that is in a good condition you might get a bunny with her. It's hard to hunt with Buzzards but they are awesome birds for those who want to learn how to work with a bird of prey and how to understand this birds. I trained this bird to come to my glove. She was in free flight and came every time I called her. At 100 meters I called her to the lure. She was a quick learner than the Goshawks. The Buzzard is not so aggressive as the Goshawk and in the beginning you don't need so much time to start to feed them. In 2-3 days he is going to eat from the glove..
From velid_falconer Feb 12 2014 5:49PM