Urban Wildlife - Buzzard

Buzzard (Buteo buteo) © Sean Browne

Fascinating Fact about Buzzard

The common buzzard is one of the most common and most widespread bird of prey in Nottingham. The birds are very strong and are able to pick up food as large as a small mammal. Buzzards can be seen fl ying at any time of year and its presence may be given away by its cat-like “pee-uu” call.

All about Buzzard

What to look for

Buzzards are easily spotted as when soaring in high circles in the sky, holding its wings in a shallow ‘V’ with its tail fanned. Buzzards can grow 50cm long in the body, with a wingspan of 137cm. Their wings are broad and round with finger-like feathers at the ends.
The buzzard is very variable in colour, with a paler ‘v’ on its chest. The upper wings are dark brown and the lower wings are brown at their front, with paler flight feathers behind.

When and where to see

Buzzards can be seen across the whole of Nottingham. Look for it soaring overhead, close to wooded areas or perched by major roads - the buzzard likes to perch high on trees, fence posts or pylons, looking for its dinner. Buzzards normally fly on their own, though can be seen in groups if there is a lot of food .

Did you know?

  • Buzzards tend to eat small mammals and birds. Sometimes, if it hasn’t had a meal for a while, the buzzard will eat the odd earthworm or large insect.
  • It’s not just live prey that Buzzards will eat, they’ll also feed on carrion (a dead animal carcass) – which sometimes means it’ll unfairly be blamed for killing the animal in the first place.
  • Buzzards begin breeding in April or Mar and make a nest in a tree or on a rocky crag. This is made of sticks with soft materials such as bracken or moss. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both parents. The eggs hatch after about 34 days, in order of laying, over about 1 week. In times of food shortage, the youngets hatchling may not survive. The young fl y after about 50 days but are looked after by their parents for another 40days or so.
  • Buzzard pairs mate for life. To first attract a mate, or to impress his current one, the male will perform a ‘roller coaster’. He will rise high up in the sky, to turn and plummet downward, in a spiral, twisting and turning as he comes down. He then rises again quickly through the air and repeats it all over again.
  • Buzzard’s can also be found in the rest of Europe and Asia. It can be found across Nottingham all year round.
  • The buzzard population fell significantly during the 20th century as a result of unlawful killing, exposure to toxic chemicals and a large reduction in the rabbit population caused by myxamotosis. The numbers are recovering, but buzzards are still persecuted, mainly be deliberate poisoning, which kills large numbers of birds each year.

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