Buteo

Buteo jamaicensisThe broad-winged hawks of the genus Buteo are named after the Latin name of the Common Buzzard. If that sentence doesn’t open up a can of Annelida, I don’t know what will. Buteo simply means “hawk.” There is a North American species called the Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus). Here in the U.S. “buzzard” is another name for either of our two vulture species — the English colonialists were not familiar with such soaring carrion-eaters in the old country, so they slapped a name they knew on them. That was Buzzard, from the Eurasian hawk known to the systematists as Buteo buteo. “Buzzard” itself comes from the French busard.

The pictured bird is our most common hawk, the Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis). Having seen B. buteo in its native range, I can say these big soaring hawks act rather similarly. Those broad wings are perfect for soaring overhead on the thermals in great loops over the landscape, eye-balling the prey below.

1 Response to “Buteo”


  1. 1 Peggy Herron November 6, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Interesting history that I didn’t know .Gret clear photo of those wing tips .


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