Long-legged buzzard

   ›      ›   Long-legged buzzard - Buteo rufinus.

The long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These long-legged buzzard species are distributed in Europe, Asia, Indian subcontinent and Africa.

Taxonomy of Long-legged buzzard

  • Scientific Name: Buteo rufinus
  • Common Name: Long-legged buzzard
  • French: Buse féroce; German: Adlerbussard; Spanish: Busardo moro;
  • Other names: Falco rufinus Cretzschmar, 1829; Buteo ferox;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Cretzschmar, 1829)
Buteo rufinus was earlier included in the genus Falco. The two recognized subspecies are: B. r. rufinus (Cretzschmar, 1829) and B. r. cirtensis (J. Levaillant, 1850).

Birds of India - Image of Long-legged buzzard - Buteo rufinus
Birds of India - Image of Long-legged buzzard - Buteo rufinus


The long-legged buzzard is a medium sized bird of prey, measuring 50 to 65 cm in length and weighing 600 to 1,300 grams. The female buzzard is larger and weighs 900 to 1700 grams. The wingspan is 125 to 155 cm. These bird species are polymorphic, plumage varying in color from dark brown to reddish to pale brown. They have orange tinge to their plumage, reddish orange tail and pale head. The underwings appear whitish. There is usually a distinctive black carpal patch. The trailing edge to the wing is blackish. They have long wings and legs. The buzzard call is a loud mewing, screaming sound.


The long-legged buzzard inhabits various habitats like steppe, open country, semi-desert regions, rocky areas and forests with clearings.

Feeding habits

The long-legged buzzard preys on small mammals, especially rodents. It also feeds on lizards, snakes, small birds and large insects.


The long-legged buzzard breeding season is during March and April. It nests on high bushes, trees, cliffs or hillocks. The nest is built with sticks and twigs.


The long-legged buzzard subspecies B. r. cirtensis is distributed in northern Africa, including Mauritania, Tunisia and Egypt. Small populations are also found in Middle East, Spain and Italy. The buzzard subspecies B. r. rufinus is distributed in southeastern Europe, Turkey, Northeast Africa, Israel, Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asian nations, northwest China, Pakistan, north India and Bangladesh.

Movement Patterns

The long-legged buzzard populations in north Africa are sedentary. The European and Asian buzzard populations migrate southwards to Africa, southern Asia and Indian subcontinent during August and September and return in March and April.

Status and conservation

The long-legged buzzard global population is estimated at 100,000 individual birds. These buzzard species have an extremely large range and population and are considered least vulnerable. Wind energy installations, pesticide use, depletion of prey and habitat loss are the main threats to the survival of these bird species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these buzzard species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Buteo rufinus
Species:B. rufinus
Binomial name:Buteo rufinus
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Indian subcontinent and Africa;
Feeding habits:small birds, small mammals, lizards;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

Popular posts in Birds of India

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Teyr%C3%AA_Baz.jpg
Image author: Dûrzan cîrano | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Long-legged buzzard - Buteo rufinus.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.