Red-necked buzzard -- 赤颈鵟 (Buteo auguralis)

Red-necked buzzard in flight
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Red-necked buzzard fact file

Red-necked buzzard description

GenusButeo (1)

Appropriately named, the most distinguishing feature of this medium-sized bird of prey is the striking reddish-brown colouration of the neck, which extends over the crown and down to the upper back. The rest of the red-necked buzzard’s upperparts are mainly blackish, except for the tail feathers which are also reddish-brown and marked with a blackish bar just before the tail tips. In contrast to the dark upperparts, the breast is mainly bright white, becoming dark brown towards the throat, and marked with an irregular patterning of dark blotches extending to the flanks. The juvenile resembles the adult, except for the colouration of the upperparts which are lighter, and the breast, which is cream rather than white and lacks the darker plumage around the throat. While soaring, the red-necked buzzard makes a loud, mewing scream, peee-ah (2).

Buse à queue rousse.
Length: 42 – 50 cm (2)

Red-necked buzzard biology

Little is currently known about this species’ biology. Although normally solitary, during the dry season red-necked buzzards may form small groups, which migrate to the more southerly parts of the species’ range, such as Gabon (2) (4).

This red-necked buzzard’s usual hunting technique is to sit in wait on a perch scanning the ground, before swooping rapidly down and snatching its prey with its large, pointed talons (2).


Red-necked buzzard range

The red-necked buzzard has an extensive range, encompassing a broad band running from Mauritania down to Liberia in the west, and across to Ethiopia and Uganda in the east. It is also found along the coast of West Africa, including Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and north-eastern Angola (1) (2).


Red-necked buzzard habitat

Occupying a range of habitats, the red-necked buzzard can be found in plantations, farmland, savannah, woodland, and forest edges up to elevations of 2,500 metres (2).


Red-necked buzzard status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Red-necked buzzard threats

At present, there are no specific threats to the red-necked buzzard, and its population is estimated to be between 10,000 and 100,000 individuals (1). Nevertheless, it is likely to be affected by the deforestation which is occurring in many parts of its range (2).


Red-necked buzzard conservation

While there are currently no conservation measures in place for the red-necked buzzard (1), it does occur within a number of protected areas (4) (5). If properly managed, these areas should help to maintain strongholds for this species, as a safeguard against the expansion of human settlements, and the accompanying increase in logging and hunting pressure, for many years to come (4) (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2008)
  2. Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. (2001) Raptors of the World: An Identification Guide to the Birds of Prey of the World. Houghton Mifflin, New York.
  3. CITES (June, 2008)
  4. Thiollay, J.M. (2001) Long-term changes of raptor populations in northern Cameroon. The Journal of Raptor Research, 35: 173 - 186.
  5. Thiollay, J.M. (1998) Long-term dynamics of a tropical savanna bird community. Biodiversity and Conservation, 7: 1291 - 1312.

Image credit

Red-necked buzzard in flight  
Red-necked buzzard in flight

© William S. Clark /

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