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Augur Buzzard
Buteo augur

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: 

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Buteo augur
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Northern SOMALIA and ETHIOPIA south through East Africa to MALAWI and ZIMBABWE and with a disjunct population from southern ANGOLA to northern and central NAMIBIA. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic. Buteo archeri of Somalia has been treated as a separate species (Kemp 1994), or considered by some to be a race of Buteo augur, but Clark (2003) argued that these birds are merely a color phase of B. auguralis. Sclater (1918), who described archeri, regarded it, B. augur and B. auguralis as merely different races of the latter species undser the obsolete name, B. jakal.. Curiously, the molecular analysis of Riesing et al. (2003) failed to show even a close relationship between archeri and the B. augur/B. rufofuscus clade, based on a single sample purportedly from archeri, so the placement of the Somalian birds still needs further study by molecular geneticists. It is not known if there is contact between the Somalian populations formerly regarded as archeri and more southern populations of B. augur (Ash and Miskell 1998).

Taxonomy: Treated as conspecific with the Jackal Buzzard (Buteo auguralis) by Brooke (1975), who was followed by several subsequent authors, but it more likely forms a superspecies with it. The allopatry of the two forms in the eastern part of the range supports the argument that they are the same species, but a sympatric zone in Namibia, where intergrades have not been confirmed, suggests that they are specifically distinct (Mendelsohn 1997).

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). Fifty-nine of these birds were ringed in southern Africa by 1998, and the only recovery was of a bird found killed by local hunters at the ringing site more than seven years later (Oatley et al. 1998).

Habitat and Habits: Prefers a mixture of open habitats for hunting and rocky areas, wooded slopes, and exotic tree plantations for nesting in hilly and mountainous country from sea level to high peaks. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on reptiles, but also on hares, hyraxes, gamebirds, and insects. Hunts from perches or on the wing, soaring or hovering for long periods, then descending slowly on potential prey. Also tail chases larger prey. more....

Breeding: Breeding begins at the end of winter in southern Africa, and egg laying occurs in August and September. Builds a large stick nest kept lined with green leaves and placed on a rock cliff or in a tree, including alien pine trees in eastern Zimbabwe and Namibia (Steyn 1982). Clutch size is 1-3 eggs (usually 2), which are white and blotched with brown markings. Usually, only one chick survives, as the result of cainism. The incubation period is about 40 days, and the nestling period is about 50 days (Tarboton 1990). more....

Conservation: This is most common buzzard in eastern Africa, alhtough it is increasingly being negatively affected in some areas by deforestation (M. Virani pers. comm.). In southern Africa, there has been no apparent change in the distribution or numbers of this species in historical times (Mendelsohn 1997). The status of the Somalian population, formerly regarded as a separate species B. archeri, is uncertain, but it may be threatened by overgrazing and tree-cutting (Hartley 2000). Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Brooke, R.K. 1975. The taxonomic relationship of Buteo rufofuscus and B.
. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 95:150-154.
Brown, L.H. 1970. African birds of prey. Collins, London.
Brown, L.H., E.J. Urban, and K.B. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol.
  1. Academic Press, London.
Clark, W.S., and R.A.G. Davies. 2000.
  Taxonomic problems in African diurnal raptors. Pp. 121-133 in R.D.
  Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.), Raptors at risk. World Working Groups
  on Birds of Prey, Berlin and Hancock House, Blaine, WA.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Augur Buzzard. P. 189 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J.
  Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World vultures
  to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Archer's Buzzard. P. 189 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and
  J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Lendrum, A.L. 1982. Behaviour studies of Augur Buzzards in the Matopos,
  Zimbabwe. Ostrich 53:242-243.
Mendelsohn, J.M. 1997. Augur Buzzard. Pp. 214-215 in J.A. Harrison et al.
  (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines. BirdLife
  South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Smeenk, C. 1974. Comparative ecological studies of some East African birds
  of prey. Ardea 62:1-97.
Virani, M.Z. 1999. The breeding ecology and behaviour of the Augur Buzzard
  Buteo augur in relation to different land-uses in the southern Lake
  Naivasha area, Kenya. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Leicester, UK.
Virani, M., and D.M. Harper. 2004. A comparative study of the breeding
  behaviour of the Augur Buzzard, Buteo augur, in two different land-use areas
  in southern Lake Naivasha, Kenya. Ostrich 75:11-19.
Virani, M., and D.M. Harper. 2009. Factors influencing the breeding
  performance of the Augur Buzzard Buteo augur in southern Lake Naivasha, Rift
  Valley, Kenya. Ostrich 80:9-17.

Sites of Interest:
Augur Buzzard photos.

Amar, Arjun
Obodi, Veryl Achieng
Virani, Munir

Last modified: 2/12/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Augur Buzzard Buteo augur. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jul. 2020

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