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Jackal Buzzard
Buteo rufofuscus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Stable.

Other Names: 

Buteo rufofuscus
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Southern and central NAMIBIA, LESOTHO, SWAZILAND, southern MOZAMBIQUE, and southern BOTSWANA south through SOUTH AFRICA (eastern Cape). more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Forms a superspecies with B. augur with which it has often been considered conspecific (Brooke 1975). Although the two are allopatric in the eastern part of southern Africa, a zone of sympatry in central Namibia suggests that they are separate species.

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). It has been assumed that adults are largely sedentary and rarely leave established territories, but that immatures make frequent nomadic movements, some more than 500 km, possibly in response to fluctuations in the availability of rodent prey (Steyn 1982, Mendelsohn 1997). However, ringing recoveries indicate that adults evidently move, too. Of 55 recoveries of ringed birds, 22 were of immatures and 33 were from adults, and 32% of the immatures and 15% of the adults were subsequently recovered more than 200 km from their respective ringing sites (Oatley et al. 1998). There appeared to be no seasonal pattern to these movements, although those by at least the adults may be due to prey fluctuations (Mendelsohn op cit.). more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in hilly or mountainous country in dry steppe, highveld grasslands, and farming areas, especially in areas where there are rocky outcroppings for perching and nesting. Prefers areas of low human density and extensive small-stock farming (Verdoorn and Anderson 2000). Birds found away from hilly country in lowland areas are usually winter vagrants or immatures (Mendelsohn 1997). In the Karoo and Kalahari regions of South Africa, it uses large steel power pylons extensively as roosts, hunting perches, and nesting sites (Verdoorn and Anderson op cit.). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys on insects (termites), small reptiles, mammals, and birds. Carrion, including road-killed springhares, mongooses, and hares, and dead sheep also form a large percentage of the diet (Tarboton 1990). Hunts regularly from the wing, soaring or kiting in search of prey, and then parachuting to the ground to capture prey (Kemp and Kemp 1998). more....

Breeding: Breeds from late winter to early summer throughout its range, and most clutches are started in August and September (Steyn 1982). Builds a large stick nest, which is often placed on a rocky cliff face, less often in a tree. Nests are re-used in successive years. Clutch size is 2 eggs. Both chicks occasionally survive, but more often one is lost as the result of cainism. Both adults incubate, with the female doing most. The incubation period is about 50 days (Tarboton 1990).

Conservation: Common throughout its rather limited range. According to Verdoorn and Anderson (2000), it suffers from habitat loss, poisoning, powerline collisions, shooting, and other forms of persecution. Nevertheless, there is no evidence that its distribution or overall numbers have changed much in historical times (Mendelsohn 1997). Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: Tarboton and Allan (1984) estimated a total of about 1,100 breeding pairs in the former Transvaal.

Important References: 
Allan, D.G. 2005. Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus. P.A.R. Hockey, W.R.J.
  Dean, and P.G. Ryan (eds.). Pp. 526-527 in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa.
  VIIth ed. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South
Brown, L.J., E.K. Urban, and K.B. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol.
  1. Academic Press, London.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Jackal Buzzard. P. 189 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.
Mendelsohn, J. 1997. Jackal Buzzard. 1997. Pp. 212-213 in J.A. Harrison et
  al. (eds.), The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1: Non-passerines.
  BirdLife South Africa and Avian Demography Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Jackal Buzzard photos.

Last modified: 10/30/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 27 Jan. 2022

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