Long-legged Buzzard

Buteo rufinus

عقيب طويل الساق/حميق/الصقر الجراح

Status: Uncommon

The Long-legged Buzzard is in the Accipitridae family in the Accipitriforme order. The local subspecies is Buteo rufinus rufinus. It is 50-61 cm in size,  590-1,600 grams in weight and a wingspan of 13-150 cm. The largest of the buzzards in the region, the Long-legged Buzzard is a medium sized raptor with a wide head, a short neck and a tail of medium length. The long legs, which give it its name, are without feathers. The Long-legged buzzard, like the rest of the buzzards has three main morphs: light (the most common one), rust colored, and dark. In the light and rusty morphs the light head and chest are a striking contrast to the dark abdomen and "trousers". This is a good field sign for perched birds. The dark morph is a uniformly chocolate brown color and is the only one with a black terminal bar. In flight the under parts are light colored with rusty or sand colored contour feathers, white flight feathers, and dark carpel patches. In most of the morphs there is a noticeable contrast between the light head and abdomen and the darker sides. There are no tail bars. The long-legged buzzard, is similar to the steppe buzzard, however, the long-legged buzzard is larger, has longer wings, a bar less tail and the higher V angle of the wings while soaring. The Long-legged Buzzard prefers to nest in open mountainous or hilly areas the nest is built on cliffs or on tall trees. It breeds in most of this region aside from densely wooded areas and the desert. Although it as known as a cliff nester in the past, there is an apparent growing tendency to nest in tall trees. The individuals seen in Palestine belong to the B. r. rufinus subspecies that breeds in southern Europe, the Middle East and in western-central Asia. The European populations migrate to the Middle East and Africa in the winter. Occasionally there are individuals that resemble the African subspecies – B. r. cirtensis but it yet to be proven officially.

International conservation status: Least Concern., Regional conservation status: Near Threatened

The Long-legged Buzzard is threatened due to illegal hunting or trapping for falconry and also due to electrocutions by power lines and poisonings.

Migratory behaviour: Resident breeder 

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff