The common buzzard measures between 40 and 58 cm (16 and 23 in) in length with a 109?136 cm (43?54 in) wingspan and a body mass of 427?1,364 g (0.941?3.007 lb), making it a medium-sized raptor. This broad-winged raptor has a wide variety of plumages. The plumage can vary in Britain from almost pure white to black, but is usually shades of brown, with a pale 'necklace' of feathers.

Habitat and Distribution

The common buzzard breeds in woodlands, usually on the fringes, but favours hunting over open land.


It eats mainly small mammals, and will come to carrion. A great opportunist, it adapts well to a varied diet of pheasant, rabbit, other small mammals to medium mammals, snakes and lizards, and can often be seen walking over recently ploughed fields looking for worms and insects.


Pairs mate for life. To attract a mate (or impress his existing mate) the male performs a ritual aerial display before the beginning of spring. This spectacular display is known as 'the roller coaster'. He will rise high up in the sky, to turn and plummet downward, in a spiral, twisting and turning as he comes down. He then rises immediately upward to repeat the exercise.

Calls and Songs

The call is a plaintive peea-ay, similar to a cat's meow.