Order: Accipitriformes Family: Accipitridae Status: Breeding in Madeira
Laurel Forest Tour
Medium size raptor with relatively broad but long wings and short and broad neck and head. It has a short and roundish tale.
Its colour is very variable though with a fairly constant pattern.
The Buzzard’s feet are yellow and feather-free. When the bird is in flight, small, lighter coloured bars on its rounded wings and on its tail feathers contrast with the bird’s overall dark tone.
The Buzzard generally glides in wide circles, taking advantage of rising currents of warm air.
Common Buzzards are found in different habitats such as zones of indigenous and exotic forest, areas with sparse or creeping vegetation, agricultural areas and zones with human settlements. Buzzards occurs abundantly throughout the island of Madeira. Although it is also found in Porto Santo it is much less common.
Buzzard is easily identifiable since it is larger than any other breeding bird found in Madeira, though sometimes we get some vagrant eagles and other buzzards so it might be confused with Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus which is bigger (the largest buzzard) with longer wings and legs. The later can be separated from Common Buzzard by its dark belly patch contrasting with its pale head and remainder underparts.
In the past, this bird of prey was also found on Desertas islands, however, these birds disappeared at the time of the project for restoring the land habitat of the Deserta Grande island, in spite of the fact that the Common Buzzard was not a target species.
Wingspan: 115 - 135 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Total length: 51 - 57 cm (Beaman & Madge, 2011)
Weight: 550 - 1200 g (Hume, 2002)
Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: The Buzzard nests high up, in densely vegetated ravines or in tall trees, so that it always has a wide field of view from the nest and can spot any approaching danger. The nesting pair starts building the nest in February and begins incubating the eggs (two or three) in mid-April / May. The young birds are ready to leave the nest, three to four months later.
Diet: In Madeira they feed mainly from rats and rabbits though it can also feed on beetles, earthworms and some birds.
Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Very Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1
Spanish: Ratonero común
French: Buse variable
Italian: Poiana eurasiatica
Slovak: Myšiak hôrny
Czech: Káně lesní
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