Definitions

buzzard

buzzard

[buhz-erd]
buzzard, common name for hawks of the genus Buteo and the genus Pernis, or honey buzzard, of the Old World family Accipitridae. Honey buzzards feed on insects, wasp and bumblebee larvae, and small reptiles. The name buzzard is also incorrectly applied to various hawks and New World vultures, such as the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and the black vulture (Coragyps atratus) of the family Cathartidae. Buzzards are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, family Accipitridae.
or turkey buzzard

Species (Cathartes aura) of long-winged, long-tailed vulture (family Cathartidae), about 30 in. (75 cm) long, with dark plumage, whitish beak and legs, bare red head covered with whitish bumps, and a 6-ft (1.8-m) wingspread. It uses its keen sense of smell to find carrion. It occurs throughout the Americas except in northern Canada; the northerly and southernmost populations are migratory.

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Chiefly British term for any of several birds of prey of the hawk genus Buteo (family Accipitridae) and, in North America, various New World vultures, especially the turkey vulture. In Australia, a large hawk of the genus Hamirostra is called a black-breasted buzzard. The buteos, also called buzzard hawks, can usually be distinguished when soaring by their broad wings and expansive rounded tail. The plumage of most species is dark brown above and white or mottled brown below; the tail and underside of the wings are usually barred. Buteos customarily prey on insects, small mammals, and occasionally birds. They nest in trees or on cliffs. Species range over much of the New World, Eurasia, and Africa. The red-tailed hawk, the most common North American buteo, is about 2 ft (60 cm) long.

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A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below.

In the Old World

Buzzard can mean:

  • One of several medium-sized, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings.
  • In particular, those in the genus Buteo. In the Old World, members of this genus are named as "buzzards", but "hawk" is more common in North America.
  • Specifically, in Europe, the Common Buzzard, Buteo buteo, where Buzzard is often used as a synonym.
  • Any raptor which has the word buzzard as part of its name.

In the New World

Buzzard can mean:

The Old World and New World uses are almost antonyms.

Buteo species

Other species known as "buzzard"

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