What Do Buzzards Eat? Here’s What Their Diet Look Like

What Do Buzzards Eat

Buzzards are birds belonging to the family of Accipitridae. Hawks, kites, eagles, and another medium to large-sized raptors belong to the same family.

In Europe, the Common buzzard is the most common raptor and they have a huge population. These birds are considered powerful birds of prey.

But what do buzzards eat? Buzzards are carnivorous raptors that generally eat small mammals such as rabbits, shrews, hedgehogs, birds, reptiles, and all manner of rodents.

They can also consume different types of insects and invertebrates. However, sometimes the diet of these birds depends on their species and region. And In this article, I’ll explain all the facts related to the diet of buzzards. 

What do Buzzards eat?

There are almost 30 species of buzzards in the genus Buteo. They are considered opportunistic carnivorous hunters but their diets depend on their region and species.

Generally, buzzards prefer a diet consisting of rodents and small mammals. For the common buzzards, they prefer voles and rabbits in which rabbits make up almost 60% of their diet. 

In the wild, it is common to see buzzards hunting birds such as pigeons, crows, woodpeckers, or any other similar-sized bird. However, they primarily consume small mammals and rodents.

They do consume meat as carrion but they prefer live kills. But there are some exceptions to this and it includes the Honey Buzzard.

Honey Buzzard is a large raptor who mostly prefers wasp and bee nests and consumes their larvae in abundance. 

What do buzzards eat in the winter?

The buzzards species that reside in northerly regions including Britain are strongly migratory. The winter of the buzzards is similar to that of its standard diet consisting of rodents, mammals, and birds, both alive and carrion.

However, the Honey Buzzards, move to rodents, mammals, and birds during the winter. While they prefer a diet of wasp and bee larvae in the summers. 

How do buzzards hunt?

Buzzards hunt from a perch or sometimes they hover close to the ground, swooping in on their prey. But they prefer to hunt close to the ground rather than swooping from high above.

However, species like Honey buzzards prefer to excavate nests from beneath the ground.

They have long talons and hooked beans for this purpose and can dig some 40 cm below the earth. They prefer bee larvae and wasp for their diet but they can hunt similar to that any other buzzard. 

Are buzzards scavengers?

Buzzards cannot be classified as scavengers. They are flexible, generalist, and opportunistic hunters.

However, in North America people often get confused between Turkey Vultures and Turkey Buzzards. They both are from the same family but they are very distantly related.

Buzzards are capable of scavenging as they do eat carrion but it does not usually make up the majority of their diet. 

What do baby buzzards eat?

Baby buzzards can eat whatever their parents feed them. Generally, their parents offer torn pieces of meat from live kills or carrion. 

Do buzzards eat pigeons?

Buzzards readily consume pigeons and crows as they are their preferred targets. They can hunt pigeons both in the air and on the ground. 

Do buzzards eat seagulls?

The seagulls are too large for buzzards to hunt but they certainly attack the fledglings of the seagull. 

Do buzzards eat cats?

Preying or hunting cats for food is one of the most difficult tasks for any raptors including buzzards.

It is so because cats are agile and equipped with sharp teeth and claws which makes them a difficult target. Therefore, cats are the common target for the common buzzards. 

Do buzzards eat squirrels?

Buzzards can certainly consume squirrels and they make up a decent proportion of their rodent diet. 

Do buzzards eat rabbits?

Almost all buzzards eat rabbits and it makes up around 60% of their diet in some parts of Europe. Whenever an opportunity is available for the buzzards, they attack and consume them.

Generally, they target the younger or smaller species of rabbits in their habitat. But some species of buzzards can also eat the fully grown adult rabbits and hares. 

Do buzzards eat crows?

Buzzards also attack crows and consume them. However, they generally target the fledglings of the crows and can hunt them both in the air and on the ground. 

Do buzzards eat live animals?

The staple diet of the buzzards consists of living animals and rodents. However, they will definitely consume carrion if the opportunity is provided.

During the lean winter months, buzzards go for live prey as at that time the live prey is at a premium. 

How to attract buzzards to your garden?

In the UK, common buzzards can be easily spotted. Buzzards are common in North Wales, Cumbria, and Scotland.

If you want to attract them to your garden, then you can lure them with a leftover meal. The best time for it can be early morning or later on in the day. 


Buzzards are carnivorous raptors who often eat small mammals, birds, insects, and invertebrates. These birds generally prefer live kills but can also eat carrions if the opportunity is there.

Even their diet stays similar in the winter season. However, species like Honey Buzzards prefer to eat wasps and bee larvae and it constitutes the major portion of their diet. 

At last, I hope this article was of any help to you. Thank You For reading!

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