Latin name: Buteo buteo

Family: Accipitridae

The buzzard is a familiar sight in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and can often be seen using its broad rounded wings to soar in the thermals. In fact, the buzzard is the most likely medium-sized bird of prey to be spotted in the Yorkshire Dales. When the wind conditions are right, with sufficient uplift, the buzzard will often hover in a similar manner to kestrels and can be seen alongside ridges and hillsides.

The plumage of buzzards can vary quite dramatically from bird to bird, particularly on the underside, ranging from birds that appear to be almost pure white to those that are very dark brown. Buzzards primarily feed on rabbits but will often take a variety of small mammals, birds and carrion.

Buzzards were once a scarce species in the Yorkshire Dales. In 1993 there were only ten known territorial pairs in the National Park. However, the number of known pairs has increased dramatically in recent years and you can now spot buzzards virtually anywhere in the Yorkshire Dales at any time of the year. In late summer, at locations where breeding success is high, several family groups can be observed soaring over the nesting territories.

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There is a freshness and at times a undefineable fragrance to the air at high altitude in the Pennines. Joan E. Duncan & R.W.Robson

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