Bird Families

Desert Buzzard

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Our author's teaching materials on ornithology and birds of Russia:
In our online store at non-commercial prices (at the cost of production)
can to acquire the following teaching materials on ornithology and birds of Russia:

computer digital (for PC-Windows) Guide to birds of Russia, containing descriptions and images of 206 species of birds of the middle lane (drawings of birds, silhouettes, nests, eggs and voices), as well as a computer program for identifying birds encountered in nature.
application for smartphones and tablets Android Field guide to Russian birds (you can buy it in the Google Play store),
applications for iPhone and iPad: Birds of Russia, Birds of Europe, Russian Birds Voices, Bird Calls: Birds of Europe, Bird Calls: Birds of North America: Decoys, Field Automatic Bird Voice Recognition (all of them can be downloaded from the AppStore),
pocket field guides Birds of the middle lane (160 species), Birds of Russia (278 species),
colored identification tables Migratory birds, Wintering birds,
identification books of the series "Encyclopedia of the Nature of Russia": Birds, Pets,
MP3-disks with the voices of birds (songs, calls, calls): Voices of birds of central Russia (343 species) and Voices of birds of Russia, part 1: European part, Ural, Siberia (BN Veprintsev's music library, 450 species).

Buzzard, or common hawk, or mice (obsolete) - Buteo buteo

Appearance. The most common of the large birds of prey in central Russia. About 50 cm long. Wingspan up to a meter. Coloring from dark brown (dark form) to grayish-ocher (light form), the underside is lighter with longitudinal streaks. Tail with frequent narrow transverse stripes, sometimes a wider dark stripe along the edge. Dark birds usually have large dark spots on the sides of the chest or a dark transverse stripe. The anterior margin of the wing is dark ventrally. Perfectly owns soaring flight in ascending air currents, circles for a long time, especially during the mating season, can hover, fluttering its wings. The wings are wide, the tail is short.

Vote. (Reload the page - F5 to listen to the voice again). Publishes a nasal drawn-out “hiee-hiee. ”.

Habitat. Prefers wooded areas interspersed with open spaces. The optimal habitat is forest-steppe.

Food. It hunts in open places, swamps and forest edges. It catches prey on the ground - small mammals, snakes, frogs, even insects. They feed not only on rodents: they cannot cope with well-flying prey, but willingly grab poorly flying young birds, lizards, large insects, frogs, snakes and sometimes try to recapture the prey from other, more agile predators.

Nesting places. Nests in coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests. Prefers groves and copses, alternating with meadows and arable lands.

Location of the nest. The nest is arranged on trees, both coniferous (pine, spruce) and deciduous (birch, aspen, willow), at a height of 8-12 m from the ground, relatively close to the edge of the forest.

Building material of the nest. The material for the nest is dry branches, sometimes quite thick.

The shape and size of the nest. The tray is flat, lined with bark, dry leaves, thin twigs, moss and down. The nest is usually covered with green branches stuck into the walls of the nest. The diameter of the nest is 500-800 mm, sometimes more than 1000 mm, the height of the nest is 200-500 mm, sometimes up to 750 mm, the diameter of the tray is 400-700 mm, sometimes up to 750 mm.

Features of masonry. Clutch of 2-3, less often 4 whitish-green eggs with superficial chestnut-brown and deep violet-brown specks. Egg sizes: (50-58) x (40-42) mm.

Breeding dates. Arrives at the end of April and soon starts nesting and laying eggs. Incubation lasts about a month. Hatching of chicks occurs in the first half of June. Flying juveniles are observed at the end of July. The flight takes place in mid-September.

Spread. It penetrates in some places to the north quite far to Arkhangelsk, and in the lower reaches of the Pechora to 66 ° north latitude. In Western and Central Siberia, the buzzard is found mainly in the forest-steppe zone, but it is also found in the north - near Tyumen, Tomsk, Yeniseisk.

Wintering. Migratory view. Winters in Africa.

Economic value. By killing harmful rodents, especially the gray vole, as well as large insects in the fields, the buzzard benefits agriculture. In many countries, he, like other birds of prey, is specially attracted to the fields by installing perches - poles with a crossbar, as well as platforms for nests.

Description of Buturlin. A bird of prey can often be seen in fields and forest glades average size, hovering easily and silently at a moderate altitude, sometimes stopping in the air with frequent flaps of its wings. This bird - unlike the usually silent predators - often publishes a plaintive and thin scream: “Hiee-hiee. "From this scream comes the name of the bird" buzzard ": it definitely begs for something (" moan "). Another name for the buzzard - sarych - is of eastern origin, from its Turkic name "sary", which means "yellow", it was given because of the yellowish-brown color of the bird. In the middle lane, the buzzard is one of the most common and numerous predators.

Our Eastern European hawk is notable for its diversity coloration, although it is inferior in this respect to its larger Western European cousin, which reaches Volhynia in Russia and occasionally occurs in winter in Ukraine (Podolia) and on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. Adult buzzards are brownish above, with reddish edges of feathers and with an admixture of rusty-red color on the tail; below they are buffy-whitish, with a strongly developed reddish transverse and longitudinal pattern. The eyes of the buzzard are light brown, paws and waxes are yellow, claws are black. The hawk wing is 83.5-41.5 centimeters long and weighs 800-1000 grams.

Sarichi meet in our forest belt, avoiding open river areas, most often where groves and copses alternate with meadows and arable lands. In remote forest areas, there are fewer buzzards, although they penetrate in places to the north quite far to Arkhangelsk, and in the lower reaches of the Pechora to 66 ° north latitude. In Western and Central Siberia, sarych is found mainly in the forest-steppe zone, but it is also found in the north - near Tyumen, Tomsk, Yeniseisk. To the east of Transbaikalia and the Lena Basin, the Japanese buzzard is found.

The abundance of food significantly affects the entire course of life of predators and their habits... Sarich in the “mouse” year, when catching mice and voles is not difficult, often eats off only one head of the captured animal. According to many observations, in years rich in rodents, the buzzard catches 14 mice or voles a day, in poor years - only 6. The same numbers for the kestrel are 9 and 2, for the long-eared short-eared owl - 12 and 4. The feeding conditions of predators (and others birds) change dramatically during hatching of young, requiring a large amount of food for their normal development.

Western European hawks - sedentary or semi-sedentary birds, but in Eastern Europe and Siberia all buzzards are migratory. Their wintering grounds usually lie to the southwest of the nesting area. East European buzzards winter in Africa, East Siberian (the so-called "Japanese") - in Central Asia, especially in the Semirechye, and South Asia, West Siberian, apparently, in Asia Minor and India.

At nesting sites of sarych appears in the middle zone of the European part of Russia at the end of April. Like other predators, buzzards form permanent pairs, so that birds arrive already mated. Soon after arrival, the male and female begin to build a nest or repair last year's nest. The buzzards fly alone, in pairs or in groups, and sometimes for the night they gather together in the amount of several dozen individuals.

Nest the buzzard is usually located high above the ground, but sometimes (in moss swamps among the forest) it is located right on the ground. Incubation lasts about a month. Fledging of chicks from the nest is about mid-July. The first days after the departure of young and old buzzards can often be seen together on the edges of the forest near the fields, in clearings and in meadows, where the old people still feed the young, bringing them food, and only two weeks later the birds begin to stay alone. At this time, young buzzards often fall under the shot of an inexperienced hunter who thinks to kill a predator, but in fact deprives his fields of a useful watchman.

Leave buzzards in the middle zone of our country usually from the middle of September. In the southeastern regions - in Bashkiria and the Urals - they remain until the beginning of October. In Central Asia, East Siberian buzzards are found from October to April, and some of the birds winter here, and some are found only on migration even further to the south.

Species descriptions taken from Keys to birds and bird nests in central Russia (Bogolyubov A.S., Zhdanova O.V., Kravchenko M.V. Moscow, "Ecosystem", 2006).

Our author's teaching materials on ornithology and birds of Russia:
In our online store at non-commercial prices (at the cost of production)
can to acquire the following teaching materials on ornithology and birds of Russia:

computer digital (for PC-Windows) Guide to birds of Russia, containing descriptions and images of 206 species of birds of the middle lane (drawings of birds, silhouettes, nests, eggs and voices), as well as a computer program for identifying birds encountered in nature.
application for smartphones and tablets Android Field guide to Russian birds (you can buy it in the Google Play store),
applications for iPhone and iPad: Birds of Russia, Birds of Europe, Russian Birds Voices, Bird Calls: Birds of Europe, Bird Calls: Birds of North America: Decoys, Field Automatic Bird Voice Recognition (all of them can be downloaded from the AppStore),
pocket field guides Birds of the middle lane (160 species), Birds of Russia (278 species),
colored identification tables Migratory birds, Wintering birds,
identification books of the series "Encyclopedia of the Nature of Russia": Birds, Pets,
MP3-disks with the voices of birds (songs, calls, calls): Voices of birds of central Russia (343 species) and Voices of birds of Russia, part 1: European part, Ural, Siberia (BN Veprintsev's music library, 450 species).

In section Nature in photographs also hosted thousands scientific photographs mushrooms, lichens, plants and animals of Russia and the countries of the former USSR, and in the section Natural landscapes of the world - photographs of nature in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand and Antarctica.

In section Methodical materials You can also get acquainted with the descriptions developed by the Ecological Center "Ecosystem" of printed identifiers of plants in the middle lane, pocket identifiers of natural objects in the middle lane, identification tables "Mushrooms, plants and animals of Russia", computer (electronic) identifiers of natural objects, field guides for smartphones and tablets , methodological manuals for organizing project activities of schoolchildren and field environmental research (including a book for teachers "How to organize a field environmental workshop"), as well as educational films on the organization of project research activities of schoolchildren in nature. Purchase all of these materials are available in our non-commercial online store. You can also purchase there mp3 discs Voices of birds of central Russia and Voices of birds of Russia, part 1: European part, Ural, Siberia.

Outward signs of a desert buzzard

The Desert Buzzard has a body size of about 56 cm and a wingspan of 103 to 124 cm. Its weight reaches 735 grams.

Desert Buzzard

The Desert Buzzard has a slimmer silhouette than other members of the Buteo genus. It has a narrower and longer tail. The plumage of adult birds is completely dark brown or chocolate brown, with the exception of the shoulders. The wings, underwings and thighs are chestnut or hazel. The rump, the base of the tail are white. The central part of the tail feathers has a black tint. The wax and the legs are yellow. Females are much larger than males, but their plumage color is the same as that of partners.

Young desert buzzards have less shiny plumage than adult birds.

The belly is white with layers of chocolate brown color. All feathers with pale reddish stripes. Their wings and tail are also striped. It differs from the marsh buzzard in more rusty cover feathers below and a tail with a less white base. The beak is also smaller.

Desert Buzzard nests on flat terrain

Desert Buzzard habitat

Desert Buzzards inhabit a wide range of habitats, dominated by thickets of saguaros, mesquite and palo verde cacti. They are found in wooded areas in which the undergrowth is covered with sage, and willows and poplars grow as a result of flooding in the Colorado River Valley. In Texas, they have a certain preference for places where the undergrowth is formed by the prickly pear cactus.

Desert Buzzards can also be found in deserts overgrown with cacti and yucca. Locally, they occupy forests of oak and juniper. In recent years, desert buzzards have appeared near cities. They live at altitudes that range from 400 to 1000 meters. In regions where there is competition with other species of birds of prey, they nest in places where the density of trees is quite high and the terrain is flat.

Desert Buzzard in flight

Desert Buzzard distribution

The Desert Buzzard is endemic to the extreme south of the United States, Central America and South America (with the exception of the Ankh and the Amazon rainforest). It spreads in northern California, southern Arizona and New Mexico, in the center of Texas and in northern Patagonia, passing on to Central America, where it is absent from the Yucatan Peninsula. In this vast geographic space, three subspecies can be noted:

  • Parabuteo unicinctus harrisi extends from Texas to southern Ecuador.
  • P. u. Unicinctus is native to South America.
  • P. u. Superior (Arizona, Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa).
Desert Buzzard

Features of the behavior of the desert buzzard

Desert Buzzards behave in a very complex manner, especially during the breeding season. In arid regions, where successful breeding is highly dependent on the availability of food resources, birds form monogamous pairs. But, in places with a large amount of food, there are two males per female. In this case, the chicks are fed by a group of birds of different ages, which includes from 3 to 7 individuals. Minimally, such a family always consists of 3 birds:

  • dominant female,
  • dominant male,
  • a male who helps to feed offspring.

In addition, such a team is complemented by two, three or four birds. Together, they perform three main tasks: find food, protect the nesting territory and chicks in the nest. The monogamous structure is present mainly in Texas, where the number of males is approximately equal to the number of females. The polyandrique structure is common in the state of Arizona, where the number of males significantly outnumbered the number of females.

In groups that feed offspring, all collective members hunt together, which allows them to attack large prey. The hunting strategy is that two birds of prey of a person, making circular flights or waiting for the victim on the roost, intimidate it and force it to leave the shelter. Then other buzzards attack from behind and seize prey.

Desert Buzzard Seeking Prey

Breeding Desert Buzzard

Desert Buzzards build their nests among cacti or in trees at an average height of 5 meters above the ground. In urban areas, they nest on poplars, hornbeams, palms and even transformers. The nest is a platform made up of branches, grass and twigs. Very often birds of prey use moss, dry grass and roots.

The female lays 2 to 4 eggs at a time.

It can reproduce at any time of the year, during which it makes 2 to 3 clutches. The incubation period lasts about 35 days, and the male willingly engages in incubation.

The chicks leave the nest about forty days after hatching, but they still stay close to the nest site for 2 or 3 months. Feeding all offspring of desert buzzards is necessary for the survival of the species, since some of the eggs can be sterile, in addition, the nests are ruined by predators. The main causes of mortality among chicks are anxiety, illness, and loss from the nest.

Desert Buzzard eats a wide variety of foods

Desert Buzzard Feeding

Desert Buzzards eat a wide variety of foods, and the menu varies greatly depending on the type of prey available in a particular season. Mammals make up 53% of the diet, about 40% of birds, small animals 6%, and invertebrates only 1%. Insects are dominated by beetles, ants and grasshoppers. Of the mammals, rabbits are the most common, only 22% of the total number of animals caught.

Gambel quail (Callipepla gambelii) make up about 9% of the total diet. The share of lizards (Sceloporus magister) in the caught prey is high. In addition, desert buzzards hunt gophers, squirrels, rats, and small deer. In winter, the birds of prey join together and capture larger prey, such as the Californian hare (Leporus californicus).

Desert Buzzard Conservation Status

The Desert Buzzard is under threat. The main danger comes from the massive destruction of its habitat. In Texas, in particular, the destruction of mesquite thickets is the main reason for the slight decline in numbers. The number of birds is approximately 400,000, living on an area of ​​9,400,000 km2.

The Desert Buzzard is classified as a species with minimal threats to its abundance, but habitat degradation is a significant threat to this species of bird of prey.

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Kasmatanogi Buzzard

Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region)

The whole territory of Belarus

Family Hawk - Accipitridae

Common transit migrating and wintering species, nests in the tundra of Europe and Asia. It is found throughout the republic.

Victor Belorusets, Kobrin district (Brest region)

In silhouette and color of plumage it is similar to a buzzard (but it is never monotonously brown or red). In addition, the Upland Buzzard is larger, somewhat longer-winged and long-tailed. It differs from the common buzzard in an almost white tail (above and below) and a tarsus feathered to the very toes. Male weight 800-1105 g, female 925-1550 g. Body length (both sexes) 50-61 cm, wingspan 109-144 cm. For the territory of Russia, slightly different data are given (with a greater amplitude): weight 700-1700 g, length 50-61, male wing 40.3-46.0, females 43.0-47.3, span 120-150 cm.

Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region)

Below, the predominant color is pale-pale, very light. A characteristic element of the coloration of the underside of the wing are small streaks on the wing coverts, a large dark brown spot on the carpal fold and dark ends of the flight feathers, forming a wide edging along the trailing edge of the wing, there are still 2-4 narrow stripes along the secondary and partially along the primary flight feathers. From above, the wing is colored relatively evenly - buffy-brown, there is a lightening on the bases of the primary flight feathers, the leading edge of the wing is also lighter than the rest of its upper surface. The tail is almost pure white above and below, with a wide dark preapical stripe and 1-4 narrower ones. There are assumptions that the male has 2-4 narrow stripes, and the female has only one, less often - 2, in addition, older birds have more stripes on the tail. On the belly there are thickened dark spots, partially merging into large spots on the sides or even into one large spot. There are also numerous streaks on the head and neck. The female usually has a darker belly, the male often has darker head and neck, and the belly is lighter. However, the plumage pattern is subject to large individual variations. The female is slightly larger than the male.

Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region)

Juveniles are generally paler than adults, but the belly is completely dark brown, the head, neck and chest are light, with longitudinal streaks, the marginal stripe on the tail is one, wide and blurred, sometimes very pale, the upper wing coverts and back are usually much lighter than on of old birds, the light field on the bases of primary flight feathers is usually whiter, less streaks on the lower surface of the wing. In the second year of life, the color is something intermediate between juvenile and adult plumage.

All birds have light brown or brownish eyes, the entire tarsus is feathered.

The voice is very similar to the voice of a buzzard: mournful lingering high nasal cries, if in a flying bird, then trembling. There are individual peculiarities of the voice - higher or lower in tone, hoarseness, etc. When he pokes, the male shouts “eeey” high and nasally.

They float willingly and for a long time, while the wings are slightly raised above the horizontal. They often hunt in slow flight; in the wind they can hover in place, only slightly adjusting the position of the body with their wings.

Vladimir Bondar, Chaussky district (Mogilev region)

In autumn, the first Rough-legged Buzzards flying from the north appear here in mid-to-late September; Spring migration in the opposite direction is observed in March, some individuals can be found until the end of April.

The number of both migrating and remaining birds for the winter is subject to fluctuations from year to year. The number of migrating buzzards depends on the number of lemmings (the main summer food source) in the tundra and forest-tundra in a particular year. In "mouse" years, the Rough-legged Buzzard is second only to the Buzzard in numbers on migration. The number of Rough-legged Buzzards remaining to winter also depends on the “harvest” of local populations of murine rodents and the state of the snow cover: the less the snow cover is, the more Rough-legged Buzzards, and vice versa.

Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region)

During migrations and wintering, they adhere to open biotopes: mown but not plowed fields, open marshes and floodplains, vast fresh clearings in the forest, etc. Most often, hunting buzzards are found above the fields, less often in open raised bogs, sometimes in other biotopes. In especially feeding places, up to a dozen individuals can accumulate. During the hunt, the birds either soar low, often hovering in one place, often flapping their wings like a kestrel, or watch out for prey from the perch, using pillars, haystacks and straw, individual trees among the fields for this purpose.

The food of this species is based on mouse-like rodents, mainly voles. Ferret reported as an isolated case. In especially difficult periods of wintering, the Rough-legged Buzzard does not disdain carrion.

All marked birds poached in Poozerie,

belong to the Lapland population and have been ringed by chicks in Sweden, Norway and Finland.

They reach reproductive age at 1-2 years of age.

The maximum age recorded in Europe is 18 years 9 months.

Vladimir Bondar, Mogilev district

Vladimir Bondar, Mogilev district Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region) Vladimir Bondar, Chaussky district (Mogilev region) Valery Kiselev, Vetka district (Gomel region) Vladimir Bondar, Chaussky district (Mogilev region)

1. Grichik V. V., Burko L. D. "Animal world of Belarus. Vertebrates: study guide" Minsk, 2013. -399 p.

2. Ivanovsky V. V. "Birds of prey of the Belarusian Poozerie: monograph". Vitebsk, 2012.-209p.

3. Fransson, T., Jansson, L., Kolehmainen, T., Kroon, C. & Wenninger, T. (2017) EURING list of longevity records for European birds.

4. Ryabitsev VK "Birds of the Urals, Urals and Western Siberia: Reference book". 3rd ed., Rev. and add. Ekaterinburg, 2008.S. 121-123

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