Common Buzzard

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Buteo buteo

Malay Name: Helang-Gempal Erasia

Chinese Name: 欧亚鵟

Range: Breeding Range: (EU) widespread Nonbreeding Range: AF, OR

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: rothschildi, insularum, pojana, buteo, menetriesi, vulpinus.

Local Subspecies: vulpinus

Size: 39-47 cm

Identification: The Buteo buzzards present a stocky body, broad wings and a tail when in flight. Difficult to distinguish from Eastern Buzzard, but said to be darker brown overall, with dark carpal patch not contrasting with the rest of the wing as strongly. Can come in three distinct morphs: brown, rufous and dark. Brown morph with solid, brown wing lining and often possessing a pale breast 'belt' that separates the dark plumage of the belly from the strong upper breast streaking; tail also strongly barred. Rufous morph has dark brown underparts of previous morph replaced by warm rufous brown and less distinct tail barring. Dark morph has blackish-brown body plumage with pale flight feathers and a dark trailing edge to the wing.

Similar looking species: Crested Honey Buzzard, Jerdon's Baza, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Eastern Buzzard

Habitat: Open country.

Behaviour/Ecology: Often seen while flying across on migration. Rarely overwinters in Singapore. Elsewhere sits on prominent perch and soars low. 

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Location: Often observed in regular raptor migration sites (Henderson Waves). Rarely overwinters but when it does tends to favour open habitat. 

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Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2021). Buteo buteo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Eaton, J. A., van Balen, S., Brickle, N. W., & Rheindt, F. E. (2021). Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea (Second Edition). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.