721. The Buzzard.
Buteo vulgaris, Leach, Syst. Cat. Mamm. &c. p. 10 (1816) ; Gould, B. of E. i. pl. 14 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. pl. 6 ; Hewitson, i. p. 38, pl. xiv. figs. 1, 2 ; Newton, i. p. 109 ; Dresser, v. p. 449, pl. 331 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 186 ; Saunders, p. 321 ; Lilford, i. p. 16. pl. 9 ; Falco buteo, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 127 ; (1766) ; Naum. i. p. 346, Taf. 32, 33 ; B. plumipes, Hodgs. P.Z.S. 1845, p. 37 ; Sharpe, tom. cit. p. 180 ; B. japonicus (Temm, and Schlegel), Faun. Jap. Aves, p. 16, pls. vi. vi. b. (1850) ; B. desertorum, Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 393 (partim, nec. Daud.).
Buse commune, French ; Minhoto, Portug. ; Pella, Arpella, Span. ; Pojana, Ital. ; Mausebussard, German ; Buizerd, Dutch ; Musvaag, Dan. and Norweg. ; Ormvrak, Swed. ; Kaarmehaukka, Finn. ; Obiknovennui Saritcha, Russ.
Male ad. (Germany). Upper parts dark earth-brown with a faint metallic gloss and slightly varied with dull reddish brown, the forehead and nape marked with dull white ; quills blackish brown on the outer web, the basal half of the inner web white barred and marbled with brown ; tail dark brown tipped with light brown, and barred with greyish brown ; under parts dark brown marked and barred with yellowish white and dull white, the throat and sides of head whiter ; beak blackish horn lighter at the base ; cere and legs yellow, the tarsus bare or sometimes partly feathered, in front ; iris brown. Culmen 1.3, wing 14.8, tail 8.8, tarsus 3.1 inch. Female similar but somewhat larger. This species is subject to extreme variety, from nearly white to almost uniform blackish brown, and the feathering on the tarsus is also extremely variable, but is oftener seen on eastern specimens.
Hab. Europe generally, north as far as Trondhjem and Kajana ; British Islands ; Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde Islands ; rare in N. Africa ; Asia as far east as Japan, India and Ceylon in winter.
Is a migrant in the northern portion of its range, but as a rule a resident in the southern part. It is somewhat heavy and lazy, seldom attacking any but young, weakly, or small birds, or mammals, its food consisting chiefly of small rodents, reptiles, large insects, larvae, and even carrion. It may often be seen at a considerable altitude, circling on the wing with ease, and uttering its clear, loud, mewing cry. It frequents both the woodland and the open heaths and rocky localities. It is a somewhat early breeder and nests either in the rocks or on non-evergreen trees, sometimes high up and at others at no great altitude. The nest is constructed of boughs and twigs, lined with grass, wool, moss, and even a few feathers, or sometimes a deserted crow’s nest is repaired and utilized. The eggs, 2 to 4 in number, are deposited from late in March to May and are bluish white, sometimes almost unmarked but generally tolerably well marked and blotched with violet-grey, or rarely pale brown shell-markings and reddish brown surface spots, roundish in shape, and measure about 2.21 by 1.81.
721. Buteo vulgaris
721. The Buzzard.