The most well-known bird of prey in Central Europe is the common buzzard. The population has been able to increase in the last few decades as ample ideal living conditions are available at the edges of forests and in fields. A pair of common buzzards builds their own home using grasses, branches, moss and foliage and prefers large trees at the edges of forests and in fields for nesting.
Common buzzards like to leave the breeding area in autumn, especially in northern countries - the Scandinavian population often migrates to Central and Southern Europe for the winter for example. You can see many common buzzards passing through Central Europe within a few hours on a sunny day in October or March.
The common buzzard has a wingspan of 115 to 135 cm and is between 50 and 55 cm long. The male is somewhat smaller (650 - 850 grams) than the female (850 - 1250 grams). The common buzzard’s mewing noise signalises interest and is supposed to be confused with a cat by prey on the ground.
The common buzzard can be any possible colours from white to dark brown. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs between March 30th and April 15th and incubates the young within 34 days. If food is scarce and there are few mice, common buzzards often skip breeding for a year or only raise one chick. Once their coat has grown in, the chicks can leave the nest after 42 to 49 days.
The main source of nutrition found on the common buzzard’s menu is mice and birds as well as other rodents, frogs, insects, earthworms, injured rabbits and hares or roadkill. If a common buzzard spots prey on the ground, it tries to catch it using a highly concentrated nose dive.
The common buzzard also catches prey straight from perches on fences, trees or electrical pylons. In agriculturally cultivated areas, they can be seen circling above farmland, facilities and meadows for hours on end. The common buzzard is sometimes referred to as the “Cat Eagle” in some languages due to its mewing noise.