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buzzard

buzzard, common name for hawks of the genus Buteo and the genus Pernis, or honey buzzard, of the Old World family Accipitridae. Honey buzzards feed on insects, wasp and bumblebee larvae, and small reptiles. The name buzzard is also incorrectly applied to various hawks and New World vultures, such as the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and the black vulture (Coragyps atratus) of the family Cathartidae. Buzzards are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae.

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buzzard

buz·zard / ˈbəzərd/ • n. a large hawklike bird of prey (family Accipitridae) with broad wings and a rounded tail, typically seen soaring in wide circles, in particular the common Buteo buteo. ∎  a North American vulture, esp. a turkey vulture. ORIGIN: late Middle English: from Old French busard, based on Latin buteo ‘falcon.’

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buzzard

buzzard Slow-flying bird with broad, rounded wings, fan-shaped tail, sharp, hooked beak, and sharp talons. The name is used in reference to many birds of prey, as in North America for hawks and vultures. Family Accipitridae; genus Buteo.

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buzzard

buzzard XIII. — (O)F. busard, based like OF. buson (whence F. buse) on L. būteō, -ōn-, of unkn. orig.; see -ARD.

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buzzards

buzzards See ACCIPITRIDAE.

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buzzard

buzzard •landward • backward •Edward, headward •hellward • heavenward • leftward •northwestward, southwestward, westward •wayward •leeward, seaward •eastward, northeastward, southeastward •windward • inward • cityward •skyward • sideward • rightward •onward •forward, henceforward, shoreward, straightforward, thenceforward •awkward • northward •downward, townward •outward • southward • poleward •homeward • oceanward • Woodward •sunward • upward • frontward •rearward • afterward • earthward •halyard •lanyard, Spaniard •untenured • steelyard • vineyard •poniard •haphazard, hazard, mazzard •blizzard, gizzard, izard, lizard, vizard, wizard •buzzard

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Buzzard

BUZZARD

BUZZARD (Heb. הָיַא, ayyah), bird of prey of which different species are found in Israel. The long-legged buzzard (Buteo ferox) feeds on birds, mammals, and insects. It can see very far and is apparently the ayyah referred to in Job 28:7 (AV: "vulture"), where the desert is described as a place which "even the eye of the ayyah has not seen." It is enumerated among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:14; Deut. 14:13). According to Abbahu, it is identical with the ra'ah mentioned in the same verse "and why is it called ra'ah – because of its remarkable sight" (ra'ah, it saw), adding "it can be in Babylon and see a carcass in the land of Israel!" (Ḥul. 63b).

bibliography:

Lewysohn, Zool, 167ff.; Tristram, Nat Hist, 187ff.; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 67. add. bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 214.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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Buzzards

Buzzards

Species of buzzards

Buzzards and humans

Resources

The true buzzards are diurnal birds of prey in the genus Buteo, sub-family Buteonidae, family Accipitridae. In North America, buzzards are also commonly known as hawks, although other genera in the family Accipitridae are also given this common name, for example, the Accipiter hawks. There are 28 species of buzzards.

Buzzards are in the order Falconiformes, which also includes other types of hawks, eagles, osprey, falcons, and vultures. All of these birds have strong, grasping (or raptorial) talons, a hooked beak, extremely good vision, and a fierce demeanor. However, buzzards can be distinguished by their relatively large size, wide, rounded tail, broad wings, and their soaring flight. The usual color of the feathers is a barred pattern of browns and black, with some buff or red. The sexes are colored similarly, but females are substantially larger than males.

Buzzards occur on all of the continents, except for Antarctica. However, most species of buzzards occur in the Americas. Buzzards are most commonly seen in relatively open habitats, such as prairies, savannas, and forest edges.

Buzzards are mostly predators of small mammals, rabbits and hares, and, to a lesser degree, snakes, lizards, birds, and larger insects, such as grasshoppers. Buzzards commonly soar in huge circles at great heights, looking for prey in the open, using their extremely acute vision. If prey is seen, an attempt may be made to catch it by undertaking a steep dive, known as a stoop. Some species also hunt regularly from perches in trees or on posts. The prey is generally killed by the powerful, sharp-clawed, grasping talons of these birds.

Migrating buzzards also soar during their longdistance movements, utilizing the lift obtained from high thermals during sunny days to achieve a relatively effortless flight. Some species migrate in large groups, and occasionally thousands of individuals can be seen at one time. These birds seem to fill the sky as they soar

to great heights on one thermal and then glide slowly to pick up the next thermal along their path of travel, using the presence of other birds to identify the otherwise invisible areas of rising, warm air.

Buzzards defend a territory during their breeding season. The territory is proclaimed by aerial displays and by loud, harsh screams. Buzzards nest in trees. Often the nest was built by another species, such as crows or ravens, and is then appropriated by the buzzard. However, buzzards will also build their own nests. The same pair may continue to utilize a nest for several seasons.

Species of buzzards

The largest, most widespread and familiar species of buzzard in North America is the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis ). This species breeds in almost all regions below the arctic tundra, and as far south as Panama and the West Indies. The red-tailed hawk nests in trees at or near the edge of woodlands, but feeds in open country. The plumage of the red-tailed hawk is quite variable, but adults have a reddish top of their tail. Northern populations migrate to the south in winter, although they will stay quite far north if an abundance of their small mammal prey is available.

The red-shouldered hawk (B. lineatus ) is a common species of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, with a separate, disjunct population in coastal California and Oregon. This species commonly hunts from perches. Northern populations winter in the southeastern states.

The broad-winged hawk (B. platypterus ) is a relatively small and common woodland species of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. This species usually hunts for small mammals, reptiles, and insects from a perch in a tree. During the autumn the broad-winged hawk migrates in spectacular flocks, which occur as large groups riding thermals in a southerly direction. This species winters from southern Mexico to northern South America.

The rough-legged hawk (B. lagopus ) breeds in the northern tundra of Canada and Alaska and winters in open habitats of the United States. This species also breeds throughout the tundra of northern Eurasia, from Scandinavia to eastern Siberia. The rough-legged hawk commonly hunts while hovering in the air.

The ferruginous hawk (B. regalis ) is a buzzard of prairies and other open habitats of western North America, wintering in the southwestern States and Mexico. Swainsons hawk (B. swainsoni ) is another western species of open habitats, breeding from central Alaska to northern Mexico. This species migrates in flocks and winters in Argentina.

Other species of buzzards in North America are relatively uncommon and localized in their distributions. These include the Harlans hawk (B. harlani ), Harris hawk (B. unicinctus ), and the zone-tailed hawk (B. albonotatus ).

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo ) breeds widely in Europe and northern Asia. Northern populations of this species are migratory, but southern populations are sedentary, as long as there is sufficient prey of small mammals available to support their needs. The long-legged buzzard (B. rufinus ) has a more southern Eurasian distribution.

Buzzards and humans

Some people consider all hawks to be pests, believing that they eat game birds, such as grouse

KEY TERMS

Diurnal Refers to animals that are mainly active in the daylight hours.

Raptor A bird of prey. Raptors have feet adaptive for seizing, and a beak designed for tearing.

Thermal A column of relatively warm, rising air that develops during sunny days. Thermals are essentially rising, convective currents in the lower atmosphere. Soaring and gliding birds commonly utilize thermals to achieve a relatively effortless locomotion.

and ducks, or that they kill song birds. For these reasons, buzzards and other hawks have been killed in large numbers in some regions. Fortunately, however, this is rarely the case today, and few people now kill these predators.

To some degree, buzzards have also been adversely affected by the toxic effects of insecticide use in agriculture and forestry. However, these birds have been somewhat less damaged by pesticides than some other types of raptors, such as falcons and eagles.

In fact, because they eat large numbers of small mammals, which can cause serious agricultural damages, buzzards provide a useful service to humans.

Because of buzzards large size and fierce demeanor, many bird-watchers avidly seek out quality sightings of individuals, which can represent a highlight of a days field expedition.

Resources

BOOKS

Clark, W.S., and B.K. Wheeler. A Field Guide to the Hawks of North America. 2nd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

del Hoyo, J.A., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal, eds. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2, New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, 2000.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. 2nd ed. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Freedman, B. Environmental Ecology. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1995.

Johnsgard, P. A. Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of NorthAmerica. Biology and Natural History. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press, 1990.

Scholz, F. Birds of Prey. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1993.

Bill Freedman

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Buzzards

Buzzards

The true buzzards are diurnal birds of prey in the genus Buteo, sub-family Buteonidae, family Accipitridae. In North America , buzzards are also commonly known as hawks , although other genera in the family Accipitridae are also given this common name, for example, the Accipiter hawks. There are 25 species of buzzards.

Buzzards are in the order Falconiformes, which also includes other types of hawks, eagles , osprey, falcons , and vultures . All of these birds have strong, grasping (or raptorial) talons, a hooked beak, extremely good vision , and a fierce demeanor. However, buzzards can be distinguished by their relatively large size, wide, rounded tail, broad wings, and their soaring flight. The usual color of the feathers is a barred pattern of browns and black, with some buff or red. The sexes are colored similarly, but females are substantially larger than males.

Buzzards occur on all of the continents, except for Antarctica . However, most species of buzzards occur in the Americas. Buzzards are most common seen in relatively open habitats, such as prairies, savannas, and forest edges.

Buzzards are mostly predators of small mammals , rabbits and hares, and to a lesser degree, snakes , lizards, birds, and larger insects , such as grasshoppers . Buzzards commonly soar in huge circles at great heights, looking for prey in the open, using their extremely acute vision. If prey is seen, an attempt may be made to catch it by undertaking a steep dive, known as a stoop. Some species also hunt regularly from perches in trees or on posts. The prey is generally killed by the powerful, sharp-clawed, grasping talons of these birds.

Migrating buzzards also soar during their long-distance movements, utilizing the lift obtained from high thermals during sunny days to achieve a relatively effortless flight. Some species migrate in large groups, and occasionally thousands of individuals can be seen at one time. These birds seem to fill the sky as they soar to great heights on one thermal and then glide slowly to pick up the next thermal along their path of travel, using the presence of other birds to identify the otherwise invisible habitat of rising, warm air.

Buzzards defend a territory during their breeding season. The territory is proclaimed by aerial displays and by loud, harsh screams. Buzzards nest in trees. Often the nest was built by another species, such as crows or ravens, and is then appropriated by the buzzard. However, buzzards will also build their own nests. The same pair may continue to utilize a nest for several seasons .


Species of buzzards

The largest, most widespread and familiar species of buzzard in North America is the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This species breeds in almost all regions below the arctic tundra , and as far south as Panama and the West Indies. The red-tailed hawk nests in trees at or near the edge of woodlands, but feeds in open country. The plumage of the red-tailed hawk is quite variable, but adults have a reddish top of their tail. Northern populations migrate to the south in winter, although they will stay quite far north if an abundance of their prey of small mammals is available.

The red-shouldered hawk (B. lineatus) is a common species of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, with a separate, disjunct population in coastal California and Oregon. This species commonly hunts from perches. Northern populations winter in the southeastern states.

The broad-winged hawk (B. platypterus) is a relatively small and common woodland species of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. This species usually hunts for small mammals, reptiles , and insects from a perch in a tree . During the autumn the broad-winged hawk migrates in spectacular flocks, which occur as large groups riding thermals in a southerly direction. This species winters from southern Mexico to northern South America .

The rough-legged hawk (B. lagopus) breeds in the northern tundra of Canada and Alaska and winters in open habitats of the United States. This species also breeds throughout the tundra of northern Eurasia, from Scandinavia to eastern Siberia. The rough-legged hawk commonly hunts while hovering in the air.

The ferruginous hawk (B. regalis) is a buzzard of prairies and other open habitats of western North America, wintering in the southwestern States and Mexico. Swainson's hawk (B. swainsoni) is another western species of open habitats, breeding from central Alaska to northern Mexico. This species migrates in flocks, and winters in Argentina.

Other species of buzzards in North America are relatively uncommon and localized in their distributions. These include the Harlan's hawk (B. harlani), Harris' hawk (B. unicinctus), and the zone-tailed hawk (B. albonotatus).

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo) breeds widely in Europe and northern Asia . Northern populations of this species are migratory, but southern populations are sedentary, as long as there is sufficient prey of small mammals available to support their needs. The long-legged buzzard (B. rufinus

) has a more southern Eurasian distribution.


Buzzards and humans

Some people consider all hawks to be pests , believing that they eat game birds such as grouse and ducks , or that they kill song birds . For these reasons, buzzards and other hawks have been killed in large numbers in some regions. Fortunately, however, this is rarely the case today, and few people now seek to kill these predators.

To some degree, buzzards have also been detrimentally affected by the toxic effects of insecticide use in agriculture and forestry . However, these birds have been somewhat less damaged by pesticides than some other types of raptors , such as falcons and eagles.

In fact, because they eat large numbers of small mammals, which can cause serious agricultural damages, buzzards provide a useful service to humans.

Because of buzzards' large size and fierce demeanor, many bird-watchers avidly seek out quality sightings of individuals, which can represent a highlight of a day's field expedition.


Resources

books

Clark, W.S. and B.K. Wheeler. A Field Guide to the Hawks ofNorth America. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1987.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Freedman, B. Environmental Ecology. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 1995.

Johnsgard, P. A. Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America. Biology and Natural History. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press, 1990.

Scholz, F. Birds of Prey. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1993.


Bill Freedman

KEY TERMS

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Diurnal

—Refers to animals that are mainly active in the daylight hours.

Raptor

—A bird of prey. Raptors have feet adaptive for seizing, and a beak designed for tearing.

Thermal

—A column of relatively warm, rising air that develops during sunny days. Thermals are essentially rising, convective currents in the lower atmosphere. Soaring and gliding birds commonly utilize thermals to achieve a relatively effortless locomotion.

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