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Buzzard

Irish: Clamhán
Latin: Buteo buteo

Description:
Medium sized, broad winged, stout and short neck, which gives it a compact appearance. Often seen soaring near roads at moderate height showing fan shaped tail or perched on fence posts, telegraphs poles or prominent branch. Plumage can be very variable with off white tail densely barred grey and pale band across chest. Usually dark brown plumage with black wing tips and trailing edges of wings. White or pale patches on underwing near the 'wrist' are often very noticeable.

Habitat:
Buzzards prefer pasture interspersed with hedgerows and small woods. Open sheep grazed hillsides and scrub with suitable nest sites are also occupied.

Food:
The buzzard is a versatile predator, which eats birds, frogs, Rabbits, rodents, carrion and Earthworms. Bird prey includes passerines, crows, pigeons and young waders.

Breeding:
Builds large sticks nests in trees or sometimes on small cliff ledges. The nest is lined with grasses, mosses and other plants and small green branches or sprays are also added to the nest rim. Lays 2-5 eggs in late March-May and incubation last 33-36 days. The chicks fledge after 42-47 days.

Status:
Became extinct in Ireland in 1891. First found breeding on Rathlin Island, County Antrim in 1933. The Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group estimate 200 + pairs are now breeding in Northern Ireland, whilst there appears to be at least 150 pairs in the Republic of Ireland with approx. 100 pairs in county Donegal alone. Buzzards are believed to be currently breeding in 18 counties and there is no reason why Buzzards should not eventually recolonise every county in Ireland.