THE COMMON BUZZARD

Buzzards are magnificent birds of prey, similar to small eagles. The colour of their plumage is quite variable but they are always various shades of brown with a paler band around the breast.

They were persecuted by farmers and gamekeepers in the 1800s and became extinct in this country just over a century ago. However, they re-colonised, without human help.

The first birds arrived in Co Antrim from Scotland in the 1950s and this was followed by a second colonisation from Wales into Co Wicklow.

Today are found in all parts of Ireland. They mostly eat rabbits and rodents, but will take frogs, large invertebrates and the chicks of ground nesting birds.

They hunt by perching on a tree or a pole and watching for prey or by soaring on thermals. If they spot something edible on the ground while they’re soaring they bundle themselves into a ball and dive on their prey.


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