madasyernan's picture

Common (!!!!) Buzzard ( Buteo buteo)

Observed: 14th November 2009 By: madasyernanmadasyernan’s reputation in Birdsmadasyernan’s reputation in Birdsmadasyernan’s reputation in Birds
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This Buzzard sat watching the duck/waterbird (?) for 10-15 minutes. Well, until I pressed the shutter on my camera. Then flew off a way and continued to watch the bird on the water. There are little duck/waterbird skulls around as well as rabbit. I thought Buzzards were carrion and also ate smaller prey. Voles, mice etc.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Buzzard (Buteo buteo) interacts


Rob Coleman's picture

I've tentatively suggested

I've tentatively suggested the waterbird is a Little Grebe, but not a whole lot of evidence for this. I've never heard of a Buzzard taking waterbirds from the water, though I'm sure they go for young birds on land.

Rob Coleman

camelbirder's picture

Buzzard at St Gothian Sands

This Common Buzzard behaviour of taking small birds made the national press when it was watched and photographed taking a Grey Phalarope from this very spot.
I have personally seen Common Buzzard take Common Shelduckling on the Camel Estuary. Although birds make up a very small part of this species diet, it maybe a large part of some individual birds diet.

The small bird in the photograph is a Little Grebe.


madasyernan's picture

Buzzard, thank you

Thank you for your answers. I go to Gwithian/Godrevy wetland nature reserve most weeks. I usually see this Buzzard there, but I shall be watching more carefully, I may get more of a clue of his/her diet, (though I dont relish seeing this)

Sam, Student.

the naturalist man's picture

Buzzard taking water birds

I saw the article about this bird, it even made it into BBC Wildlife.

There is a sparrowhawk at North Cave Wetlands in East Yorkshire which does a similar thing. I've watched it sit hidden in vegetation on a small island, then when a tuffted duck (I've seen it take three ducks over the last couple of years all were tuffted duck) swims close to the island it pounces, more like a fox than a bird!. It holds the prey bird under the water (at the water's edge) then flap, drags it out. This is very strange behaviour I feel. Not only has the bird taken to hunting in the open and from the ground but kills its prey by drowning before plucking.

Graham Banwell

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madasyernan's picture

Hi Graham

Did you see the video clip on Autumn watch of the Sparrowhawk attacking and drowning a Magpie.

Are they, like the Buzzard, adapting because of loss of habitat etc etc.

Sam, Student.

dw5448's picture

What other food is around?

Buzzards seem to have expanded a lot in range according to the interim results of the current census, and I was wondering if new population pressures have built up and are forcing some innovation. Would there be many rabbits, mice etc about, and are there lots of buzzards in this area?

When I occasionally go back to South Wales, I sometimes see them perched on telegraph poles looking at the roadside verges (maybe thinking about the same prey that kestrels would take). As a teenager there, I remember them swooping down when we were mowing and taking the mice that had been injured by the blades - would actually come quite close.

Recently in County Down I saw one perch on a dry stone wall then quarter along over a field near a hedgerow, almost like a sparrowhawk. There must be more to them than circling and mewing.

Milvus's picture

On Graham's comment about the

On Graham's comment about the ground-hunting sparrowhawk. I saw a not dissimialr behaviour from an adult female at a wetland in north east England, about 18 years ago.

The water levels were low and in the 'draw-down' zone, exposed mud was attracting snipe to the edge of reedmace beds. The sparrowhawk was landing on the mud and then walking into, and then and out of, the reeds, chasing the snipe 'on foot'.

Initally I thought 'why don't the snipe just fly off?', then common sense prevailed. Clearly, they realised that they were no real match for the sparrowhawk from this kind of 'standing start', and felt they had a better chance 'dancing' in and out of the reedmace stems, trying to avoid the bird's long, slashing legs.

It was a truly bizzare sight, played out at an incredibly high tempo.

camelbirder's picture

Common Buzzard's diet

Buzzards will eat anything that they can catch but their main food source is earthworms.

The site where this buzzard lives is full of rabbits but they are not easy to catch, so a tired bird which has flown miles across the sea would be a much easier target.


Bumblebee's picture

Buteo buteo can and often

Buteo buteo can and often does nest around the cliff edges in Cornwall although its preferred habitat is a woodland edge, its main food source is the rabbit but will scavenge from a freshly ploughed field and is often seen taking Carrion crows, the population is Cornwall is thriving and they have no main flight threat here, they are one of the UK's biggest raptors and are a pleasure to see daily. You can often see the common buzzard eating after birth when a sheep has had its lambs in the fields. The buzzard is a scavenger and has adapted to many different habitats and food sources, its hunt is usually mid morning after warming in the morning sun.

Jo :)
Conservation Student Cornwall