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The Buzzard

Another bird of prey very present on almost all the Swedish territory (with the exception of the more northern mountainous areas) is certainly the buzzard (Buteo buteo): medium-sized bird of prey with wide wings and regular body structure, short neck and medium-length tail, the buzzard measures 45-58 cm with a wingspan of 110-140 cm and can reach a weight of about 1 kg for the male and 1.3 kg for the female.

In Sweden, there are about 35,000 pairs spread over the territory during most of the year, but in winter they are mainly concentrated in the southernmost areas where they arrive for the winter.

In the County of Skåne, therefore, it is not difficult to spot this bird of prey, which, like the red kite, is present in large quantities – often both can be seen even in Malmö – but it has a totally different behaviour from the kite: a lot more opportunistic, the buzzard is often perched on fences or on road and highway signs, waiting to feed on the carcasses of animals or birds overwhelmed by machines that often end up becoming one of the major causes of the buzzard’s death; moreover, it also takes advantage of the work done by the tractors that work the land and that bring out worms, snakes and small rodents.

After years of experience, I also noticed another important difference between these two birds of prey: while the kite is much more curious and often comes so close to even fly right over the head, the buzzard is more suspicious and elusive and, after a quick look, it prefers to disappear far away, thus making it more difficult to photograph it.

Something curious: usually the buzzard has a brown color, with some lighter parts of the body; in Sweden, however, there is also the so-called subspecies of Börringe (borringevråk), so named for the area in Skåne where it was first sighted and where I also found the specimen of the photos, characterised by an almost completely white plumage if not for dark spots on the wings and deep brown eyes.

Like all birds of prey, it is astonishing to see it fly and, despite its “distrust”, with a bit of perseverance and patience, it is not impossible to get some close-up shots.

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