Tuesday 29 November 2011


Buzzard (Buteo buteo). By José Ledo.

The Buzzard (Buteo buteo) was another one of the target species in the SEO/BirdLife-brokered national woodland raptor survey 2009-2010 (Palomino and Valls, 2011). The estimated Extremadura population came out as 2870 territories (range 2790-2960). This represents 9.3% of the Spanish total (31,000 territories), coming in fourth behind three bigger regions: Castilla y León (5530), Andalucía (5520) and Castilla-La Mancha (3900). Extremadura's average density is 6.9 territories per 100 km2, a little above the national mean (6.1) but behind the Canary Islands (16) and the Cantabrian coast (9.5).

Cáceres, with an estimated 1490 territories, boasts Spain's biggest provincial population, followed by Badajoz with 1380 territories. Since both provinces are so big, the density (7.5 and 6.3 respectively) is lower than many other provinces, ranking 12th and 22nd respectively.

The Buzzard's range takes in the whole of Extremadura. It is most frequent in the province of Cáceres and thins out only in the Sierra de Gata, Las Hurdes, Las Villuercas and the southeast corner of the province. In Badajoz the best areas are in the northern third, near the River Guadiana, numbers dying down towards the south of the province. In Extremadura it was detected in 60% of the surveyed grids. The Buzzard is a very versatile raptor that can take to many different types of habitat. In general it prefers low- or medium-altitude areas that are not too hot and with a patchwork mixture of farmland, deciduous woods and Holm-Oak woods. It prefers high rainfall in hotter climes and low rainfall in colder areas.

Predictive map of the Buzzard's range in Spain, taken from Palomino and Valls (2011).

The car transects in Extremadura threw up an average of 6.3 birds every 100 km (6.8 in Badajoz and 5.8 in Cáceres); it was observed in 85% of the surveyed grids. Spain's mean birds-per-kilometre figure was 6.8, with Salamanca (19.2), Cantabria (17.9) and Ávila (14.9) to the fore.

The Buzzard's trend in Spain is stable according to the breeding birds monitoring project SACRE, especially in the centre of the country, including Extremadura.

The fieldwork was coordinated and carried out by SEO volunteers and staff of the Environment Board of the Regional Council of Extremadura.

- Palomino, D., and Valls, J. 2011. Las rapaces forestales en España. Población reproductora en 2009-2010 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid. [PDF]