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Grey-faced Buzzard
Butastur indicus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Frog Hawk, Gray-faced Buzzard, Gray-faced Buzzard-hawk, Grey-faced Buzzard-eagle.

Butastur indicus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan/Palearctic. Southeastern RUSSIA to Russian Far East, northern CHINA, KOREA, JAPAN, and Izu Islands; winters from southern and southeastern CHINA and TAIWAN through Indochina and Malay Peninsula to GREATER SUNDAS, PHILIPPINES, SULAWESI, and islands off northwestern BORNEO. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with B. rufipennis, B. teesa, and B. liventer. The Old World spelling, "Grey," is used here for the vernacular name to conform to usage within the range of the species. Amadon (1982) included Butastur in the sub-buteos, but later removed it from that group (Amadon and Bull 1988) and emphasized its similarity of Kaupifalco. Griffiths (1994) also thought that Butastur and Kaupifalco are sister taxa, based on her study of syringeal morphology. The results of Lerner et al. (2008) from analyses of mitochondrial and DNA genes showed that Butastur forms a monophyletic group that is a buteonine genus and not related to Kaupifalco.

Movements: Complete, long-distance, trans-equatorial migrant (Bildstein 2006). This is one of the species that dominates the "East Asian Continental Flyway," a 7,000-km overland system extending from eastern Siberia to Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago (Bildstein and Zalles 2005). This species migrates in flocks, with the birds flying in lines. more....

Habitat and Habits: In its breeding range, this buzzard is found in coniferous and mixed evergreen forests in mountains, at forest edges, fields, meadows, marshes, and around agricultural lands. Wintering birds on the Malay Peninsula select open and semi-open situations, where isolated trees remain and where the stumps of felled trees stand above crops; also occurs in interior of open (but not closed canopy) woodland (Wells 1999). Sometimes soars very high and perches on exposed branches. Usually seen singly, except in migration, when it occurs in flocks (Coates and Bishop 1997, Kennedy et al. 2000). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: On its breeding range, feeds on frogs, snakes, lizards, insects, and small rodents (Flint 1984). In Sulawesi in winter, feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, crabs, and crickets (Coates and Bishop 1997). It still-hunts from stump and mid-level tree perches, moving intermittently between search patches (Wells 1999), and dropping onto lizards and insects on the ground. more....

Breeding: Builds a small stick nest placed in a tree. In China, nests were typically located in dense coniferous or broad-leafed forest patches with thick shrubs, steep slopes, and a northerly slope aspect (Deng 2006). The nest is lined with grass and leaves (Flint 1984). Clutch size is 3-4 white eggs with rusty or reddish-brown spots (Flint op cit.). more....

Conservation: Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and
  Russia. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Deng, W.-H. 2006. Breeding habitat selection by sympatric Grey-faced
  Buzzards and Northern Goshawks in Northeast China. Journal of Raptor
  Research 40:264-269.
Deng, W.-H., W. Gao, and G.M. Zheng. 2003. Nest and roost habitat
  characteristics of the Grey-faced Buzzard in northeastern China. Journal of
  Raptor Research 37:228-235.
Deng, W.-H., W. Gao, and J. Zhao. 2004. Breeding biology of the Grey-faced
  Buzzard (Butastur indicus) in northeastern China. Journal of Raptor Research
Deng, H.L., G.Q. Xiang, and K.Q. Hang. 1991. Observations on breeding
  Grey-faced Buzzard-eagle. Pp. 164-165 in W. Gao (ed.), Chinese
  Avian Studies no. 3. Chinese Science Press, Beijing, China.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world.
  Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Higuchi, H., E. Morishita, A. Azuma, K. Torita, H. Uchida, A. Tsunekawa,
  and K. Takeuchi.
2000. [Satellite tracking the migration of Gray-faced
  Buzzards and analysis of habitat selection on wintering grounds]. Bulletin
  of the Abiko City Museum of Birds 8:25-36.
Kojima, Y. 1982. Territory and territorial behavior of the Grey-faced
  Buzzard Eagle (Butastur indicus). Tori 30:117-147.
Kugai, K. 1996. [Autumnal migration of Butastur indicus Gray-faced Buzzard
  in Japan]. Bulletin of the Okinawa Prefecture Museum 22:153-172.
Lerner, H.R.L., M.C. Klaver, and D.P. Mindell. 2008. Molecular
  phylogenetics of the buteonine birds of prey (Accipitridae). Auk
Momose, H., M. Ueta, N. Fujiwara, T. Uchiyama, T. Ishizaka, K. Morisaki,
  and M. Matsue.
2005. [Factors affecting the number of breeding Grey-faced
  Buzzard-Eagles Butastur indicus Journal of the Japanese
  Institute of Lanscape Architecture 68:555-558.
Orta, J. 1994. Grey-faced Buzzard. P. 167 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and
  J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Sites of Interest:
Grey-faced Buzzard photos.

Germi, Francesco
Kasorndorkbua, Chaiyan
Kim Chye, Lim
Le Manh, Hung
Lim, Aun -Tiah
Severinghaus, Lucia Liu

Last modified: 5/27/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

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