View Full Version : Hovering Buzzard

Pedro vanman
Thursday 15th May 2003, 18:14
Hi All
Yesterday during my perambulations around the countryside i happened to be eastbound on the A303 in Somerset.
I saw this bird hovering just off the road and thought "kestrel".
When i got closer i realised that it was far too big to be a kestrel and was in fact a Buzzard doing a superb imitation of one.This is the first time i've ever seen a Buzzard hover and i was wondering if all species of buzzard hover or only one?
Peter 3:-) 3:-)

Paul Rule
Thursday 15th May 2003, 18:39
Could have been a Rough-legged Buzzard, which hover frequently, however Common Buzzards also hover but not anywhere near as often as Rough-legged.


Pedro vanman
Thursday 15th May 2003, 19:31
Thanks Paul for your reply.
Unfortunately there was nowhere for me to stop and have a look so i can't confirm what it was but it was doin a great job of hovering there.
Happy birding

Thursday 15th May 2003, 19:59
At this time of year you would be extremely unlikely to get a Rough Legged Buzzard , Common Buzzard however would be very likely.

Thursday 15th May 2003, 20:24
In May 2001 I was on the Isle of Mull and I saw several Common Buzzards hovering and this I had not seen before, at least not here in Gloucestershire. I checked a few books and discovered from one book that Common Buzzards do have a tendency to hover but in only certain parts of the country. There were no details of where they might be more likely to be seen hovering and where not. Sort of a local thing.


Michael Frankis
Thursday 15th May 2003, 21:10
Must admit, I've seen Common Buzzards hover just about everywhere that I've seen Common Buzzards! Whether they do so or not depends mainly on the wind speed and what they're hunting for.


Pedro vanman
Friday 16th May 2003, 17:37
For your replies, they have been very helpful.As some have seen by my other posts i tend to do a lot of miles every week round the country and this was the first time i'd actually seen a buzzard hover.
Happy birding
Peter 8-P

Friday 16th May 2003, 20:18
Hi Peter,
I'd like to state that I have also seen a few Common Buzzards hovering here in Ireland,and would assume that if the weather conditions are favourable the species indulges in this behaviour reasonably regularly,though not as habitually as in Rough-legged Buzzard.

Ashley beolens
Friday 16th May 2003, 20:54
It is certainly something common Buzzards do but I have only seen it once or twice so it is quite uncommon. As for R.L.Buzzard they are still moving through, there was 1 in Norfolk at least last week, so you never know. did you get a view of the tail? it could be a usefull ID help if you did. If not its a shame these birds that you are never sure of are soooo annoying.

Saturday 17th May 2003, 15:06
Devon is Buzzard country and I think nothing if I see a Buzzard hovering. They will face into the wind and use this to maintain a fixed stance in the air over some prey. It used to confuse me a few years back but not any more. If it is windy I expect to see this happening.

peter hayes
Saturday 17th May 2003, 18:27
I agree with Andrew. Devon Buzzards know they are in God's county, so hovering comes quite naturally to them!

Saturday 17th May 2003, 21:10
Our Red-Tailed Hawks in this country are also known to hover, especially in higher winds. I've only ever seen it in winter, but both times, there was a sharp wind blowing -- and on one occasion, the bird positioned himself so well that, combined with the stiff winds, he was actually able to kite!

Smart bird, to be able to conserve energy like that!

Saturday 17th May 2003, 23:00
They often do it where the peak of a mound, hillock, etc is in high wind as they are using the upwardly deflected wind to stay in one spot.

Saturday 17th May 2003, 23:21
I agree that the updraught can be important. Think what great shots some photographers have taken at the tops of cliffs! (though not of raptors).

I've even seen a wheatear hovering repeatedly one day in Scotland.

Saturday 24th May 2003, 20:13
I often see Common Buzzards hovering in the New Forest ,Hampshire.

Saturday 24th May 2003, 20:46
i see robins and chaffinches hovering to eat from feeders!!

Sunday 25th May 2003, 07:57
I would think that this was most likely a common. They tend to hold position in the wind rather than hover but don't forget the Honey Buzzard which does actually hover, and there are a few around, although I haven't heard of any in the Somerset area.

My only problem with it being the Common was the location. I'm sure it is relatively flat along the A303 and usually I see Commons holding the wind from updrafts from places like escarpments, rock faces etc, not relatively open countryside.

Saturday 12th July 2014, 16:29
Hi just been reading about Hovering Buzzards, up until this year 2014 I have never spotted a hovering buzzard but in the last three months its now July have seen many along a stretch of the A1 between Biggleswade and Stamford, hovering at various heights from the ground very close to the roads embankments, I am traveling in excess of 100,000 miles a year for my job right around the country and have a great fondness for birds of prey! these sightings were puzzling and confusing as in the many years of observing the impressive Falcons and Hawks we have in the UK, these sightings made me think as too why I was witnessing this for the first time, as many of you have put the conditions on the days I see this were warm and quite breezy, then it dawned on me as to why they were there and I can only assume it coincided to the new born rabbits immerging from there warrens which this year seem to be in great abundance, I have also noticed this year there seems to me to be more Buzzards around the country, and certainly I am seeing more than last year where as last year I noticed a huge increase in Red kite's but less of them this Year, So it appears to be a topsey turvey seesaw in population numbers of both of these impressive species or it could be the huge population pockets of Red Kite's from the Home counties and mostly Oxfordshire I see the greatest numbers are moving further afield into other counties and letting the Buzzards move back into the areas the Red Kite's used to or seemed to be taking over mainly there release areas in the UK's attempt to re populate the country of these beautiful birds.