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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Buzzard Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Buzzard

  1. Among the more unusual items recorded as being killed and eaten are puffins, frogs and dung beetles.
  2. However, a hungry buzzard is quite capable of killing a wide variety of prey, ranging from rabbits to birds up to the size of a wood pigeon, but any larger prey tackled was probably already sick.
  3. Numbers are greatest where the fields are smallest, as it favours abundant hedgerows and small woods.
  4. Despite its impressive size, the buzzard is not a major predator, preferring a diet of carrion and earthworms.
  5. It is thought that the buzzard is now our commonest bird of prey, pushing the kestrel into second place.
  6. For the first time for 200 years they now breed in every county in England, Wales and Scotland.
  7. While British buzzards are largely resident, many northern populations are highly migratory, many moving to Africa during the northern winter.
  8. Once restricted largely to the west and north of mainland Britain, the last 15 years have seen a remarkable expansion of these birds to the east.
  9. It doesn't like hot or arid areas either, so in Eastern Europe the long-legged buzzard replaces it.
  10. Though the buzzard can tolerate areas of high rainfall, it prefers temperate climates, so is scarce or absent in the far north of Europe, where the rough-legged buzzard takes its place.
  11. Each pair will have as many as 21 potential nest sites, usually changing to a fresh site every year.
  12. Buzzards build their own nest, and they have a curious habit of decorating it with fresh green foliage.
  13. Though most buzzards nest in trees, rocky crags or cliffs are also used.
  14. This is a very adaptable species, able to survive in a wide variety of habitats from lowland farms to high mountains. It's main requirement is a tree at least 20ft high in which to nest.
  15. Buzzards breed in every European country except Iceland, but are absent from some offshore island groups, including the Balearics.
  16. It is because of its highly variable plumage that the French call it the buse (buzzard) variable.
  17. Buzzards have remarkably variable plumage. Most individuals are brown and heavily marked, but some are almost white.
  18. Buzzards have never been popular with falconers, as they tend to be far too lazy to be taught to fly at live quarry.
  19. In the USA, the word buzzard is often used to describe the native turkey vultures. The two species are not related.
  20. In Scotland, many tourists hoping to see an eagle mistake buzzards for their quarry. Any big bird of prey sitting on a telegraph pole is most likely a buzzard.
  21. The buzzard's enthusiasm for eating carrion makes it especially vulnerable to poison baits, often put out to kill other predators such as foxes.
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