Buzzards are birds of prey. They form their own genus in the animal kingdom. In our countries, there is only the common buzzard. The buzzard is the most common bird of prey in Europe.
The span of the wings, i.e. the length from one spread wing tip to the other, can be up to 130 centimeters long. The females are usually slightly larger than the males.
The colors of the plumage vary, ranging from dark brown to almost white. In spring you can often see two, three, or even more buzzards circling in the sky. This is the start of the mating season when males and females seek each other out to build a nest and have offspring.
Because buzzards are birds of prey, they have large claws that they can use to grab their prey. In addition to the claws, the beak is also important, with which they can shred the prey. Their eyes also help them when hunting. Buzzards can see very far, which allows them to spot small prey from a great height.
How does the common buzzard live?
The buzzard likes to live in areas with small forests, pastures, and meadows. It builds its nests in trees and hunts in open areas. It mainly hunts small mammals such as mice. But he also catches lizards, slowworms, and small snakes. He also likes amphibians, mostly frogs and toads. Sometimes it also eats small birds, insects, larvae, and earthworms or carrion, which are dead animals.
When hunting, the common buzzard circles over fields and meadows or sits on a tree or fence post. When it spots possible prey, it shoots down and grabs it. However, many common buzzards die on country roads and highways. They eat animals that have been run over. When a truck drives past, the wind throws the buzzard onto the streets.
A common buzzard becomes sexually mature at the age of two to three years. The female usually lays two to three eggs. The eggs are about the size of a large chicken egg. The incubation period is almost five weeks. After six to seven weeks, the young fledge, so they can then fly out. However, they stay near the nest for a while and are fed by their parents.
The buzzard’s natural enemies are the eagle owl, the hawk, and the marten. Above all, they endanger the eggs and young animals. Above all, humans are taking away their natural habitats, so that they can no longer hunt and build nests. Many common buzzards also die on roads.
In the beginning and middle of the 20th century in some areas, there were very few buzzards left because hunters shot them. However, stocks have recovered strongly in recent decades. Therefore, the buzzards are not endangered today.
Where does which type of buzzard live?
There are around 30 different species of buzzards worldwide. These birds live on every continent except Australia. A particularly large number of species have developed in South America and Central America.
However, only the common buzzard, rough-legged buzzard, and long-nosed buzzard live in Europe. The common buzzard lives everywhere in Europe except Iceland. The rough-legged buzzard lives only in northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia. The Eagle Buzzard lives only in the Balkans. Some rough-legged buzzards come to Germany and other neighboring countries every winter.