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Long-legged Buzzard
Buteo rufinus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: Atlas Long-legged Buzzard (cirtensis), Buteo ferox, Long-legged Buteo.

Buteo rufinus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical/Indomalayan/Palearctic. Two disjunct populations, one breeding from southeastern Europe east through Asia Minor and IRAN to northern MONGOLIA south to northern INDIA and wintering in TURKEY, TRANSCAUCASIA, the Middle East, northern AFRICA (south to NIGER and SENEGAL) and northern INDIA, the other resident in northern Africa from MAURITANIA to Arabia. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. B. r. cirtensis: Northern AFRICA from MAURITANIA to EGYPT and ARABIA; B. r. rufinus: Southeastern EUROPE and ASIA MINOR east through IRAN and AFGHANISTAN to northwestern MONGOLIA and south to northwestern INDIA; winters to northern AFRICA and northern INDIA. more....

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with B. hemilasius with which it may be conspecific. Hybrids between the two have been reported from the border area of Kazakstan and China, including the Sugaty Valley and as far west as the Ustyurt Desert (Haataja 2006, Wassink and Oreel 2007), and a possible hybrid was also reported from Malaysia (Soon 2008). Two instances of hybridization with Common Buzzards are known from Hungary in recent years (Kotymán et al. 2008).

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). The Eurasian race rufinus winters in northern Africa and northern India. Part of the population of the North African race cirtensis migrates south in winter, or moves to lower altitudes; vagrant individuals have turned up on various islands and even in Spain. In drier areas, there are nomadic movements, as birds search for better foraging areas (Thévenot et al. 2003). more....

Habitat and Habits: The nominate race occurs in desert and semi-desert areas, preferring slightly hilly plains (Flint 1984), or, as in Armenia, non-forested areas with cliffs, open meadows and steppes, croplands, and village outskirts (Adamian and Klem 1999). The race cirtensis of northwestern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula inhabits steppes, foothills, forests on the border of open country, sparsely wooded areas, dry rocky outcrops devoid of trees, semi-desert and desert areas, and even coastal cliffs, up to 3,000 m, but mostly below 800 m (Thévenot et al. 2003, Jennings and Sadler 2006). Usually solitary, or in pairs; small flocks may congregate near water (Adamian and Klem op cit.). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on rodents, including gerbils, voles, and susliks, and more rarely on birds and reptiles. Forages for prey over plowed and cultivated fields, mountain steppe, and arid to semiarid deserts, often hovering in search of prey, and also scans for prey from power poles, pylons, powerlines, and dead trees (Adamian and Klem 1999). more....

Breeding: The nominate race builds a stick nest lined with softer vegetation, wool, and bits of bark and placed in trees, on rocks, rocky precipices, or old buildings (Flint 1984, Adamian and Klem 1999). In the Middle East, nests are usually placed on rocky ledges, or in trees and shrubs (Aspinwall 1996). Nests of B. r. cirtensis in Morocco are placed from 5-40 m above ground on a cliff or in a tree (one on a pylon) and are often reconstructed nests of another species, e.g., Corvus corax or C. ruficollis (Thévenot et al. 2003). Clutch size is is 3-5 white eggs with reddish-brown spots. One clutch per year is laid, but it is replaced if lost (Adamian and Klem 1999). more....

Conservation: Generally common throughout its range, although there have been declines in populations of the resident race in northern Africa and Arabia. Its breeding range is expanding werstward and southward in eastern Europe. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: The European population was estimated at 2,200 to 12,000 breeding pairs by BirdLife International/European Bird Census Council (2000), and this estimate was later revised upward to 8,700 to 15,000 breeding pairs (BirdLife International 2004). more....

Important References: 
BirdLife International/European Bird Census Council. 2000. European bird
  populations: estimates and trends. BirdLife Conservation Series no. 10.
  BirdLife International,Cambridge, UK.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
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
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Orta, J. 1994. Long-legged Hawk. 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.
Pfander, P., and S. Schmigalew. 2001. Umfangreiche Hybridisierung der
  Adler-Buteo rufinus Cretz. und Hochlandbussarde Buteo
Temm. et Schlegel. Ornithologische Mitteilungen 53:344-349.
Rasmussen, P.C., and J.C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley
  guide. Vols. 1-2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions, Washington,
  D.C. and Barcelona, Spain.
Shevtsov, A.O. 2001. [Breeding of the Long-legged Buzzard in the
  Olexandriya District of the Kirovograd region]. Berkut 10:63-66. (In
  Ukrainian with English summary).
Thiollay, J.-M. 2006. Severe declines of large birds in the northern Sahel
  of Western Africa: a long-term assessment. Bird Conservation International
Vatev, I.I. 1987. Notes on the breeding biology of the Long-legged Buzzard
  (Buteo rufinus in Bulgaria. Journal of Raptor Research 21:8-13.
Vetrov, V.V. 2002. [About breeding of the Long-legged Buzzard in the
  Kharkiv region]. Berkut 11:165-167. (In Russian)
Wu, Y.-Q., M. Ma, F. Xu, D. Ragyov, J. Shergalin, N.F. Lie, and A. Dixon.
  2008. Breeding biology and diet of the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufius) in
  the eastern Junggar Basin of northwestern China. Journal of Raptor Research

Sites of Interest:
Species account, with an emphasis on European populations.
Long-legged Buzzard photos.

Corso, Andrea
Ma, Ming
Ragyov, Dimitar
Vetrov, Vitaly
Yotsova, Tsvetomira

Last modified: 4/6/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Nov. 2020

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