|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]|
|The Common Buzzard exists in France in the wild. It's a nesting and migratory protected species. |
It's also Central Europe's most common bird of prey. It has a compact stature, with a round head and a rather short tail. Its plumage shows variable colours, generally dark brown with white spotted underparts. Beak is hooked from the base. Sexes are identical, but females are slightly larger than males.
Generally, older subjects are much darker, showing nearly white underparts with brown stripes turning to reddish-brown on the abdomen. Primary feathers are dark, close to black. Tail is short and wide. Eyes are brownish yellow. Beak is dark and cere is yellow. Feet and claws are yellow. Immatures are very similar to adults, except that their head shows white or yellowish stripes. Wings and back feathers edges are sharp and reddish-brown. Tail has practically never the wide terminal stripe. Eyes are grey but change quickly. Cere and feet are yellow and the beak is blackish. They get their adult plumage at 16 months.
Habitat : All types of woodlands, from smallest field bushes to alluvial forests.
Found also locally in marshes and rocky coasts. The Common Buzzard is closely linked to the forest. It lives in all kind of forests, country as well as mountains, but
always close to an open space. It is also found in places where trees are scattered, in agricultural zones and in rocky areas in the mountains.
The Common Buzzard breeds in whole Europe, except in Scandinavia's far north, Iceland and a part of Ireland. Common Buzzards living in Northern Europa migrate to France in winter.
Behaviour : The Common Buzzard is often considered as a lazy bird. It might look lazy when seen quietly perched for a long time, but, in fact, it's a very active bird, flying back and forth above fields and forests. The Common Buzzard eats small mammals caught on the ground, but also birds, reptiles, batrachians and insects. This species has a great adaptability. This is perhaps the reason why it has high breeding figures. It is famous for its way of capturing moles. It watches the ground and, at the moment the soil moves, it flies suddenly off its perch and captures the animal without hesitation. Major part of its preys are captured after having been visually located during low altitude circling flights, but also after searching at an altitude of about 100 meters.
The Common Buzzard has also a keen ear, and can trace a mouse movement in the grass.
When the prey is located, the buzzard soars slowly towards the ground, lands, runs quickly with agility and captures its prey.
The Common Buzzard is non-migrant and very territorial. Once a pair has chosen its territory, it will remain there for its whole life. Their juveniles break up in the neighbourhood and live in the vacant territories.
Around mid January, territoriality instinct gets stronger with breeding season's beginning and it's frequent to attend to flying movements and attacks against outsiders of the same species.
In February, nuptial flights intensify and continue in March. It involves a series of turns, soarings, and nosedivings, performed by the pair. If the Common Buzzard is baited by crows or seagulls, it turns over on it's back while flying and claws the nuisance.
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