Jackal Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus)

Jackal Buzzard

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Buteo rufofuscus | [authority] Forster, 1798 | [UK] Jackal Buzzard | [FR] Buse rounoir | [DE] Felsenbussard | [ES] Busardo Augur meridional | [NL] Jakhalsbuizerd


Monotypic species


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

The adult South African Jackal Buzzard is strikingly plumaged. It is almost black above with a chestnut tail. The primary flight feathers are blackish and the secondaries off-white, both barred with black. Below the chin and around the throat is mainly white, and the rest of the underparts and the underwing coverts are rich rufous. The flight feathers from below are white, tipped with black to form a dark trailing edge to the wing. The juvenile Jackal Buzzard is mainly brown above and rufous brown below and on the tail. It can be confused with wintering Steppe Buzzard, but has broader wings and an unbarred undertail.

Listen to the sound of Jackal Buzzard

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/Jackal Buzzard.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 130 cm wingspan max.: 135 cm
size min.: 45 cm size max.: 55 cm
incubation min.: 37 days incubation max.: 43 days
fledging min.: 50 days fledging max.: 53 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Africa : South. Southern and central Namibia, Lesotho, Swziland, southern Mozambique, and southern Botswana south through South Africa (eastern Cape).


Occurs in hilly or mountainous country in dry steppe, highveld grasslands, and farming areas, especially in areas where there are rocky outcroppings for perching and nesting. Prefers areas of low human density and extensive small-stock farming


Breeds from late winter to early summer throughout its range, and most clutches are started in August and September. Builds a large stick nest, which is often placed on a rocky cliff face, less often in a tree. Nests are re-used in successive years. Clutch size is 2 eggs. Both chicks occasionally survive, but more often one is lost as the result of cainism. Both adults incubate for about 6 weeks, with the female doing most. The young fledge after about 7 to 8 weeks. At 70 days they become independent of the nest, but young birds may then be seen with the adult pair for some time.

Feeding habits

Preys on insects (termites), small reptiles, mammals, and birds. Carrion, including road-killed springhares, mongooses, and hares, and dead sheep also form a large percentage of the diet. Hunts regularly from the wing, soaring or kiting in search of prey, and then parachuting to the ground to capture prey.

Video Jackal Buzzard


copyright: Boustanji


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 may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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.
Jackal Buzzard status Least Concern


Irruptive or local migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas. It has been assumed that adults are largely sedentary and rarely leave established territories, but that immatures make frequent nomadic movements, some more than 500 km, possibly in response to fluctuations in the availability of rodent prey

Distribution map

Jackal Buzzard distribution range map

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