Steppe Buzzard | Buteo vulpinus

Roberts Bird Of Prey Information: Steppe Buzzard

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

The description for the Steppe Buzzard (Latin name Buteo vulpinus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Buteo vulpinus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 149 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 522. You will find a picture of the Steppe 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.Steppe Buzzard

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Buteo buteo in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Steppe Buzzard is known in Afrikaans as Bruinjakkalsvoel.

The Steppe Buzzard has a height of 50 cms and weighs around 640 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Buteo vulpinus has a brown coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown, black coloured back. The eyes are brown.Steppe Buzzard Swallowing Snake

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 brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is grey.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is brown.

Back is brown, black.

Steppe Buzzard Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Steppe 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 vulpinus 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 Steppe 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 Steppe Buzzard uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Steppe Buzzard Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Steppe Buzzard is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

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

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Steppe Buzzard is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.