Augur Buzzard

(Buteo rufofuscus)

FUN FACT

Augur buzzards are closely related to the red-tailed hawks that are native to Pennsylvania.

Augur buzzards are one of the most numerous types of hawks in Africa.  In the Americas, the term "buzzard" generally refers to vultures, but in the Old World, the word's original meaning was "hawk".  Augur buzzards are members of the Buteo genus, a group of hawks found all over the world and known for their broad wings, relatively short tails, and the ability to soar for long periods of time.  Like all hawks, Augur buzzards are strict carnivores and actively hunt a variety of animals, particularly reptiles.  Augur buzzards come in two color phases -- dark and light.  Dark individuals are uniformly chocolate brown, while light phase birds have a dark hood and back with a bright white chest and stomach.  Both color phases have a rusty, brick-red tail, yellow legs, and dark eyes.

Distribution

Eastern central Africa.

Habitat

Plains, grasslands, forests.

Diet

Primarily reptiles, some small mammals and birds.

Breeding

Pairs of augur buzzards are monogamous during the breeding season, and pairs may remain together for years. They build their nests on cliffs or in sturdy trees and lay 1-3 eggs. The adults begin incubating immediately after the first egg is laid, meaning the first egg hatches several days before the second. This results in chicks of varying ages and sizes, the largest of which will out-compete the smaller chicks. Typically, only one chick per nest survives.

Status

Not Under Threat (Least Concern)

At the Aviary

See Dillon the Augur Buzzard during special presentations and classes only. This bird is not currently on exhibit.