Long-legged Buzzard

Long-legged Buzzard    Buteo rufinus


  • Buteo : Latin word for Buzzard
  • Rufinus : Latin word for “Golden, Golden-red”

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Chuhamar, Lambtanga Buzzard, Pun: Chuhamar tisa, Guj: Mosami teeso, Himalayi tiso, Mar: Lamb Payancha baj

Distribution in India: Widespread Winter visitor in Himalayas, West India and east India

Description: Size of 43–62 cm; wt. of male 590–1281 g, female 945–1760 g; wingspan 112–160 cm. It is polymorphic, with great variation, from dark morph through reddish morph to very pale morph. Typical morph shows pale head, breast and tail contrasting with rufous belly; lacks tail barring of most other buzzards; dark carpal patches, rusty underwing-coverts; flight-feathers paler, with black trailing edge and wingtip; tarsus somewhat elongated. The female is slightly larger than male. The juvenile has faintly barred tail; black on trailing edge of wing is less marked.

Habitat: It is found in Steppe, semi-desert, rocky or stony country; also open woodland or woods with clearings; from plains and foothills to mountains. In winter, it is found in widely scattered in variety of habitats, from desert to cultivation and wooded areas. It uses prominent perches on trees, rocks, posts, etc.

Food Habits: It eats mainly small mammals like rats, voles, young rabbits and hares, picas; also reptile like lizards and snakes; some small birds, amphibians and large insects like locusts, grasshoppers, beetles. Rather sluggish; often waits for long periods on perch or on ground; also forages with soaring flight; hangs on wind, without beating wings, to survey ground. Can take advantage of fires to prey on escaping animals.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Mar-May in Europe and North Africa. Nests on cliff ledges and crags, also in trees when available; sometimes on steep slopes. Bulky nest, of twigs and sticks, lined with green leaves, wool or other materials; sometimes several nests on same crag. Both adults build nest; nest can be reused; also uses old nests of other birds. Normally 2–4 eggs are laid in a clutch, incubation of 4 weeks; chicks fledge in 45 days.