Steppe Buzzard

Buteo vulpinus

The Steppe Buzzard is a common summer visitor to South Africa, migrating to our country (and much of southern, east and central Africa) from Europe and Asia when it is winter in their northern hemisphere breeding range. They can be seen in all South African provinces between September and April.

Steppe Buzzards are medium-sized raptors, with a wingspan of 1.3m and a weight of around 550-900g. Females are noticeably larger than males. They are usually seen singly, in pairs or small family groups, but do form large flocks numbering 100 or more while migrating.

Steppe Buzzards utilise a wide range of habitats, but do require at least some tree cover for roosting and nesting. When visiting our southern environs they show a preference for open habitats, ranging from grasslands, arid scrub and fynbos to savannas and open woodland, as well as croplands. They prey mostly on small mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates, often using utility poles and fences as perches from which to attack, and will scavenge from carcasses.

Some authorities consider the Steppe Buzzard to be a subspecies of the Common, or Eurasian, Buzzard (Buteo buteo) which the IUCN considers to be of least concern with a population estimated in the millions.


28 thoughts on “Steppe Buzzard

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Ek kan jou se ek moes n hele paar keer deur hierdie fotos gaan om seker te maak ek het nie perdalks een gemisidentifiseer nie, Dina (en my kleurblindheid help nie regtig die proses nie!)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Deb also explained to us that what is called a buzzard in the U.S. is more a vulture than a raptor. Strange the names we gave our animals, isn’t it, Kathy? Another example that comes to mind is the buffalo v bison.


  1. kim blades, writer

    Hello. Fantastic photos. I often see these guys on telephone poles when driving along the dirt road that lead to my sister’s farm and sometimes in tall trees or swooping down to scoop up a lizard or other creature in the grasslands next to the road or on the farm itself. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person


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