[order] Falconiformes | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteo rufinus | [UK] Long-Legged Buzzard | [FR] Buse féroce | [DE] Adlerbussard | [ES] Busardo Moro | [IT] Poiana codabianca | [NL] Arendbuizerd

Arendbuizerd determination

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It is similar in appearance to the Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus), but larger in size (approximate length 60-65cm / 24") and more robust. There are many different colour forms, but usually Long-leggeds have clear orange tint to plumage, red or orange tail, pale head and largely white underwings. There is usually a distinctive black carpal patch and dark trailing edge to wing. Rump and trousers are often dark or deep rufous. Plumage varies from ghostly pale individuals to very dark birds. Some plumages are almost similar to those of the Steppe Buzzard, the Eastern subspecies of the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo vulpinus), but Long-legged Buzzards have longer wings and are more like Rough-Legged buzzards or even a small Aquila eagle.

Open, uncultivated areas, with high bushes, trees, cliffs or hillocks are favoured as nesting areas. Younger birds disperse north of breeding grounds and there are records from Northern Europe.

This bird has a widespread distribution in northern Africa and Asia, from Morocco to western China. It is known in south-western Europe also, and its total European population can be estimated at 1000-2000 breeding pairs. Its Greek breeding population is totalling not more than 40-60 pairs (Handrinos & Akriotis, Tucker & Heath). It is decreasing, mainly because of the increasing agricultural encroachment on its steppe habitat.

Chiefly small mammals, reptiles, and large insects. Searches for prey in circling flight or from perch on rock, mound, or occasionally tree, and often on ground. Follows grass fires to feed on fleeing animals; also waits at burrows of rodents and stalks insects.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 100,000-1,000,000 km2. It has a large global population estimated to be 100,000-1,000,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001). Global population trends have not been quantified, but there is evidence of a population increase (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001), and so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

It breeds between March and May. The number of eggs laid varies between 2-3 per clutch.

N African cirtensis sedentary and dispersive, having reached Senegal on one occasion. Eurasian rufinus either totally migratory, or partially migratory in N of breeding range and sedentary in S; winters from Turkey, Middle East and Arabia to Pakistan, N India and S Tibet; some birds reach N Africa, mainly Nile Valley and E sub-Saharan Africa. Leaves breeding grounds mainly in late Aug and Sept; returns mid-Mar to mid-Apr. Local movements due to droughts have been reported.