Eastern Buzzard

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

Scientific Name: Buteo japonicus
Malay Name: Helang-Gempal Biasa
Chinese Name: 普通鵟

Breeds in eastern Siberia through Sakhalin to Hokkaido, winters south to continental southeast Asia. Resident in Japan with endemic taxa in the Izu and Bonin islands, as well as the Daito Islands.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: burmanicus, japonicus, toyoshimai, oshiroi.

Size: 51-57 cm

Buteo buzzards have a roundish body and in flight, is disitnct with roung wings and a proportionally short tail. In Singapore very difficult to distinguish from the Common Buzzard, but Buteo buzzards with primarily white base colour on the underparts with strongly contrasting black carpal patch are thought to be of this species.

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

Habitat: Open country.

Behaviour/Ecology: Taxonomy of the Buteo buzzards very confused, with various authors treating this and the Common Buzzard differently. Usually found in open country, though not very frequently observed wintering in Singapore. When hunting, it has a habit of soaring against the wind and staying completely stationary in the air, looking downwards to search for its prey. This behaviour however is almost never observed in Singapore due to the lack of suitable habitats.

Local Status: Uncommon migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Location: Observed migrating across key raptor watch sites. Sometimes winter at open country sites such as Holland Plains, Marina East.

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Featured reports: Nov 2022

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

BirdLife International. (2021). Buteo japonicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T22732232A200958179.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Marks, J. S. & Kirwan, G. M. (2020). Eastern Buzzard (Buteo japonicus), version 1.0. In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D. A., & de Juana, E. (Eds). Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.combuz6.01
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.