Forest Buzzard (Buteo trizonatus)

Forest Buzzard

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteo trizonatus | [authority] Rudebeck, 1957 | [UK] Forest Buzzard | [FR] Manchot empereur | [DE] Bergbussard | [ES] Busardo Montanes | [NL] Kaapse bergbuizerd


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Buteo trizonatus AF s


Members of the genus Buteo are broad-winged, broad-tailed hawks, Well adapted for soaring. The bill, legs and talons are of average proportions. There is much colour variation both within the species, and, by way of phases, within individual species. In all cases the young are quite different from adults in that they are all well camouflaged with an overall brown appearance with varying amounts of striping below and paler mottling above.
The 25 species are spread worldwide with the exception of Australasia and much of the Indian sub-continent.

Physical charateristics

It is very similar to the abundant summer migrant Steppe Buzzard, but the adult can be distinguished with a good view by its whiter underparts and unbarred flanks. The juvenile differs from the same-age steppe buzzard by its white front and tear-shaped flank streaks.

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size min.: 40 cm size max.: 45 cm
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Africa : South. Endemic to South Africa and Swaziland, occurring from the Limpopo Province south to KwaZulu-Natal and down the coast to the Western Cape.


Occurs in hilly and montane forest, including forest patches and exotic plantations (mainly Eucalyptus and pines). Occurs at forest edges and along the edges of cultivated fields.


Breeding takes place in summer in the southern Cape region. Builds a small stick nest lined with green leaves and placed in the upper fork of a tall tree, especially exotic pines. Clutch size is two eggs, which are dull greenish-white and marked with dark brown and rufous spots. Usually, only one chick survives, as the result of Cainism. The nestling period is about 50 days.

Feeding habits

Feeds on small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, which it captures by stooping from a perch. Rumored to take the chicks of domestic poultry


This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.


Probably largely sedentary, except in the southern portion of the range, where birds move north along the Drakensberg Mountains during the winter (June-September) from heavy rainfall areas.

Distribution map

Forest Buzzard distribution range map

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