BUZZARD (Buteo buteo)

 

Buse variable

 

BuzzardThe Buzzard is perhaps the most common bird of prey in Switzerland.Most often seen when it is circling overhead, it is easily told by its darker secondary feathers under the wings, often showing a very clear "thumb-patch" at their outer edge. The birds in the Lac Leman region also show a very clear pale band across the lower breast - easily seen when they are perched, and they can often be seen in this position in winter when they stay at lower elevations and sit on fence posts in farmland.

They are very vocal but with a pretty limited repertoire - the call is a plaintive "mee-aaah", quite harsh, rising sharply and then trailing away. It carries over long distances and so is often heard faintly in the distance- but here is a bird that was perched only about 50m away from me:

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(Yes that was a donkey braying at about 8s in to that last recording !)

 

 

Sonograms of Buzzard calls always shows a lot of harmonics but the main energy of the call is between 2 - 2.6 Khz.

It starts at about 2 Khz, rises quickly to about 2.6 Khz, then tailing away to about 1.6 Khz which gives it that rather plaintive feeling:

 

 

 

 

Buzzard

 

This call is pretty much all they do - even in flight, here are a group of Buzzards in January that were circling overhead calling to each other:

 

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 There are small variations of course, most often around the nest or when two birds interact, here is another recording of a single bird that seems to be a shorter, rather more blunt call:

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Within forest areas, one of the calls of a Jay sounds very much like a Buzzard, I  have read that Jays may do this to avoid predation by Goshawks, but I am a little sceptical of that theory.

If we compare sonograms of the two on the same scale it can be seen that the two are indeed a remarkably similar shape but the Buzzard call lasts for about 1.5 secs whereas the jay lasts about half a second, also the Jay descends to a lower frequency than the Buzzard. I reckon that any Goshawk  worth its salt could tell the difference ! The Buzzard comes first in the following comparison:

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 
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