Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The European population is estimated at 882,000-1,230,000 pairs, which equates to 1,760,000-2,460,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International in prep). Europe forms approximately 75% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 2,038,000-3,463,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 2,000,000-3,500,000 mature individuals.
Widespread species occurring across Europe to central Asia. European populations are predominately resident, however some are partially migratory travelling to southern Europe or north-west Africa in winter. Eastern European and central Asian breeding populations are highly migratory, travelling to southern Africa (Orta et al., 2020)
Behaviour Populations in Scandinavia and most of the former Soviet Union are migratory, wintering in Africa and southern Asia. Those elsewhere are resident (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Migrants move south between August and November and make the return journey between February and May. Birds tend to occur singly or in pairs, sometimes forming small family groups at roosts. However, they can migrate in groups, and as birds avoid sea crossings (and even freshwater bodies) as far as possible, they form huge concentrations at peninsulas and narrow straits (Brown et al. 1982, Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Migration is strictly diurnal, and also often follows mountain ranges and ridges (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat It inhabits a wide variety of habitats but requires at least some tree cover for nesting and roosting; ideal habitat appears to be forest edge, or mosaics of forest and open areas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). In winter also uses more open areas, such as steppe, pasture and wetlands, migrants within Africa also use savanna (Global raptor information network, 2021). Diet It is versatile depending on the prey animals available, with small mammals usually predominating, but in some areas invertebrates making up the majority (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site The nest is built on a fork or branch of a large tree, usually near to forest edge (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information Although versatile in its habitat choice, trees are required particularly on its breeding grounds (del Hoyo et al. 1994).
Historically the most important threat has been persecution from shooting and poisoned bait traps (Orta et al. 2020). Whilst persecution is now illegal in much of the Eurasian Buzzards' range and perceptions towards raptors have improved, reducing levels of shooting, in other regions it is still a considerable threat (Kalpakis et al. 2009, Cianchetti-Benedetti et al. 2016). In agricultural areas unintentional poisoning from pesticides and rodenticides, or ingestion of led shot are likely causing some localised declines (Coeurdassier et al. 2003, Battaglia et al. 2005, Orta et al. 2020). The Eurasian Buzzard is one of the most common species in Europe to be effected by collision-mortality, with power lines, vehicles and wind energy developments (Lehman et al. 2007, Strix 2012, Vidal–Vallés et al. 2018). Whilst it is a generalist species able to use agricultural and suburban areas, it shows preference for mosiac habitats near woodland, and as such it has suffered from wide-spread agricultural intensification and urban development due to the removal of suitable trees for nesting sites, fragmentation and loss of connectivity with woodlands (Sergio et al. 2005, Butet et al. 2010, Orta et al. 2020).
Asian populations are effected by low levels of use and hunting on breeding grounds, as live birds are traded at bird markets in Kuwait (Al-Sirhan & Al-Bathali 2010) and hunted for sport in Jordan (Eid & Handal 2018), but also on migration (Sandor et al. 2017). Little is known about threats facing this migratory populations which spend the non-breeding period in southern Africa.
Conservation actions underway
The species is listed on CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix II and Raptors MoU Category 2. Occurs in protected areas throughout its entire range, whilst in Europe it occurs in 1187 Natura 2000 sites. It is one of the most monitored species in Europe, with 16 European countries monitoring breeding efforts out of the 42 that it occurs in (Derlink et al. 2018).
Conservation and research actions needed
Continue monitoring of population trends and productivity. Extend monitoring into the Asian part of its range, and identify threats to these migratory populations at both breeding grounds, during migration and at non-breeding areas in Africa. Quantify losses of take for pet trade and hunting in Asia, and enforce legislation at a regional level to combat trade of the species.
Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Calvert, R., Khwaja, N., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Buteo buteo. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023.