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Mountain Buzzard
Buteo oreophilus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: African Buzzard, African Mountain Buzzard, Buteo tachardus, Woodland Buzzard.

Buteo oreophilus
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Highlands of ETHIOPIA south to TANZANIA and MALAWI. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with B. buteo and B. brachypterus and possibly also with B. jamaicensis and B. ventralis. Some authors (e.g., Kemp and Kemp 1998, Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006) considered this form to be conspecific with B. trizonatus, and both were lumped under Buteo buteo by Brown and Amadon (1968). However, more recent authors (Amadon and Bull 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1994) have regarded them as separate species. Wink and Sauer-Gürth (2000) found no differences in cytochrome b sequences between this species and B. buteo. Studies by Kruckenhauser et al. (2004), based on mitochondrial DNA sequences and morphological analyses, indicated that B. trizonatus and B. oreophilus are not monophyletic, that the latter form is closest to the nominate race of the Common Buzzard B. b. buteo, and that the former is closest to the "Steppe" Buzzard B.b. vulpinus. Clark (2007) recently summarized the taxonomic history and status of B. oreophilus and B. trizonatus, and he also favored separation of the two species, based on a number of plumage and morphological differences and the fact that the two populations are largely resident and separated by 2,000 km.

Movements: Partial migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in patches of hilly and montane forests, including exotic plantations. In Malawi, it is confined to montane rainforest, and it does not feed in open grassland outside the forest (Dowsett-Lemaire and Dowsett 2006). Spends most of its time perched, but may also soar overhead. Usually seen singly or in pairs.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and insects. which it captures by gliding down from an exposed perch. Has been recorded hunting bats at caves in Uganda (Carswell et al. 2005). Also rarely hunts over grasslands near forests.

Breeding: Bulds a stick nest placed in the upper fork of a large forest tree. more....

Conservation: Has a patchy distribution, but is apparently common in areas where there is extensive habitat (Hartley 2000). Threatened in some areas by habitat loss and fragmentation. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International, but its actual status requires further study. more....

Important References: 
Britton, P.L. (ed.). 1980. Birds of East Africa, their habitat, status and
  distribution. East Africa Natural History Society, Nairobi, Kenya.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. 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.
Dowsett, R.J., and F.D. Lemaire. 1979. The Mountain Buzzard Buteo
in central Africa. Scopus 3:14-18.
James, A.H., and J.H. Wattel. 1983. The nomenclature of Buteo oreophilus.
  Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 103:128-133.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Mountain Buzzard. P. 187 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.
Kruckenhauser, L., E. Haring, W. Pinsker, M.J. Reising, H. Winkler, M.
  Wink, and A. Gamauf.
2003. Genetic versus morphological differentiation of
  Old World buzzards (genus Buteo; Accipitridae). Zoologica Scripta
Lerner, H.R.L., M.C. Klaver, and D.P. Mindell. 2008. Molecular
  phylogenetics of the buteonine birds of prey (Accipitridae). Auk
Riesing, M.J., L. Kruckenhauser, A. Gamauf, and E. Haring. 2003. Molecular
  phylogeny of the genus Buteo (Aves: Accipitridae) based on mitochondrial
  marker sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27:328-342.
Tarboton, W.R., and D.G. Allan. 1984. The status and conservation of birds
  of prey in the Transvaal. Transvaal Museum Monograph no. 3. Transvaal
  Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.
Turner, D.A. 1980. The Mountain Buzzard Buteo tachardus in Tanzania.
  Scopus 4:92-93.
Wink, M., and H. Sauer-Gürth. 2000. Advances in molecular systematics of
  African raptors. Pp. 135-147 in R.D. Chancellor and B.-U. Meyburg (eds.),
  Raptors at risk. World Working Group on Birds of Prey, Berlin, and Hancock
  House, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Sites of Interest:
Mountain Buzzard photos.

Last modified: 2/17/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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