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Length 44-55 cm, mass 0.9-1.7 kg. Females larger than males
White-breasted morphs occur, and sometimes the entire underparts are white.
Juvenile: Mainly brown above and rufous brown below and on the tail.
Closely related to (and sometimes lumped with) Augur Buzzard Buteo augur.
Mainly hills and mountains, although non-breeding adults and juveniles can be found in flat terrain. The species prefers short vegetation, ranging from fynbos, Karoo and semi-desert to open woodland and grassland.
Small ground mammals make up about 65% of the diet, but snakes, lizards, small ground birds, insects, and road-kill are also taken. Typically, the raptor drops on its prey after 'hanging' on an updraft, from a hover, or from a perch.
They build a large stick nest in a tree or on a crag, which may be used again in the following years. The 2 creamy or bluish-white eggs are incubated by the female, food being brought to her by the male. The eggs hatch after about 40 days and fledging is begun further 56-60 days later. At 70 days they finally leave the nest, but young birds may then be seen with the adult pair for some time.
Call: A loud, yelping keeooow, similar to the call of the Black-backed Jackal.
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