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Common Buzzard

Last updated: 18 January 2011

In this clip from Iolo's Secret Life of Birds, we see just why buzzards are so successful here in Wales.

Buzzards are mainly scavengers but will also take prey from time to time including lambs and small mammals etc but worms are the real secret of their success.

Wales has a mild climate with plenty of rain so it's fields are full of earthworms which the buzzards will spend hours feeding on. You'll often encounter fields with dozens of buzzards in, all of which are feeding on earthworms as they're easy to catch and plentiful.

Buzzard are the most common bird of prey in the UK with broad, rounded wings with a short neck and tail. They vary in colour from dark brown all over, to some having pale heads and breasts but all buzzards have dark wing tips.

Buzzards can be seen soaring in the skies all year round, and found primarily in remote areas across Wales, with populations in Scotland, the Lake District and south west England where you'll often see them perched on top of telegraph poles

Carrion forms a major part of their diet, however they enjoy varied feeding habits ranging from small rodents, birds, reptiles, insects and worms.

Like other hawks and eagles, buzzards are very territorial with location and the size of territories depending on availability of nest sites.

Feeding grounds are occasionally shared with other birds, however perches are always defended.

Buzzards usually build their nests in a tree, rocky crag or cliff and the female buzzard lays two to four white eggs with red and brown markings at three-day intervals around mid April.

The incubation period for the eggs is 33 to 35 days and following birth the female broods for the young for the first two weeks whilst the male provides food.

The young fledge when they are 50-55 days old, and stay with their parents for six to eight weeks after fledging.

Buzzards that reach breeding age have an average life span of around eight years although the oldest wild buzzard known was 25 years and four months old.

In Wales we're also lucky to have small numbers of the rare honey buzzard visiting us in the summer months to nest before returning to Africa for the winter.


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