Long-legged Buzzard | Buteo rufinus

Robert's Raptor Information: Long Legged Buzzard

The Long-legged Buzzard is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Long-legged Buzzard (Latin name Buteo rufinus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Buteo rufinus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 151 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 524. You will find a picture of the Long-legged Buzzard on page 480.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Long-legged Buzzard between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Long-legged Buzzard has a height of 66 cms and weighs around 1050 gms. The head is coloured cream while the bill is coloured black. The Buteo rufinus has a cream coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is cream.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is black.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is cream.

Back is brown.

LongLegged Buzzard Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Buteo rufinus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Long-legged Buzzard strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Buteo rufinus attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Long-legged Buzzard eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Long-legged Buzzard uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Long Legged Buzzard Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Long-legged Buzzard is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures.

The bird is found in the African bushveld.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Long-legged Buzzard is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.