Buzzard, the name properly given to the buteonince, a subfamily of the birds of prey of the family falconidm. Their general form is heavy; their flight is vigorous and long continued, but less rapid than that of the hawks and falcons; the wings are long; the bill is curved from the base, and strong. The principal genus is buteo (Cuv.); this has the edge of the upper mandible lobe'd, with wide and long wings, the 4th and 5th quills usually the longest; tail moderate and wide; tarsi robust and covered with scales; toes short, with strong claws. It contains about 30 species, in various parts of the world. The red-tailed hawk or buzzard (B. borealis, Gmel.) is about 2 ft. long, with an extent of wings of about 4 ft.; the color above is dark brown, with lighter edgings; tail bright rufous, narrowly tipped with white and a subterminal black band; upper tail coverts yellowish white with brown spots and bands; beneath pale yellowish white, with longitudinal lines and spots of fulvous brown; throat white, with narrow brown stripes; tail below silvery white. The body is large and muscular.

Like other buzzards, it protrudes the claws beyond the head in seizing prey; the flight is slow and sailing, at a moderate height, accompanied by a mournful cry; after seeing its prey, it generally alights on a tree, from which it descends with great rapidity and rarely failing accuracy. It preys upon hares, squirrels, grouse, and smaller birds; it frequently visits the poultry yard in search of chickens, goslings, etc, and is consequently often called hen hawk by the farmers; it is very difficult to approach with a gun. The red-shouldered buzzard (B. lineatus, Gmel.) is about 20 in. long, with an extent of wings of about 3 1/2 ft.; its specific mark is the bright rufous color of the lesser wing coverts; the upper parts are brown, mixed with rufous on the head, and with white spots on the wings; under parts pale orange rufous, with white spots and bars; tail brownish black, with about five bars and a tip of white. The young birds, described as the winter hawk (B. hyemalis, Gmel.), are yellowish white below, with dark brown spots and stripes; ashy brown above, white-spotted; tail ashy brown, silvery white below, and with numerous pale brownish and rufous white bands above.

This buzzard is found abundantly east of the Rocky mountains, being replaced to the westward by the B. elegans (Cassin), in which the under parts are much darker red. It prefers woods, in which it finds squirrels, hares, grouse, and other animals of similar size; it is one of the most noisy of the genus. The broad-winged hawk (B. Pennsylvanicvs, Wilson) is about 17 in. long, with an extent of wings of 3 ft.; the color above is umber brown, the feathers white at the base on the hind neck; throat white, with brown streaks; breast with band and spots of dusky ferruginous; rest of under parts white, with reddish spots on the sides; tail dark brown, narrowly tipped with white, with one wide and several narrower bands of white near the base. It is found in eastern North America. Its flight is easy and performed in circles, and often in a gliding manner for a short distance with closed wings; it feeds on small quadrupe*ds, birds, and reptiles, and sometimes on insects; it rarely secures birds on the wing. The European buzzard is the B. vulgaris (Cuv.). - The genus archibuteo (Brehm) differs from the last chiefly in having the front of the tarsus densely feathered to the toes.

The rough-legged hawk or buzzard (A. lagopus, Gmel.) is about 23 in. long, with an extent of 4 1/2 ft-; the wings are long, the tail short, the tarsus densely feathered in front to the toes, and body robust; the upper parts are generally dark brown, much lighter on the head, with a white patch on the latter; under parts white, with stripes and spots of brown; tail white at the base, with a wide subterminal band of black, and two others alternating with two of light cinereous. It inhabits all of temperate North America, and cannot be distinguished, according to Baird, from the European rough-legged species. It flies slowly, sailing often in circles; its habits and food are as in the species above described. The black hawk (A. Sancti Johannis, Gmel.) is a little larger than the last, and in the adult of glossy black plumage, often with a brown tinge, and with white spots on the forehead, throat, and occiput; tail with a well defined white bar, and irregularly marked with the same toward the base; inner webs of quills white, conspicuous from below during flight; tarsi densely feathered in front.

It is found in the eastern and northern parts of America; chocolate-brown specimens are frequently met with. - The buzzards seek their food late in the evening, and in. that respect closely resemble the owls, as well as in their low, slow-sailing flight just above the tops of the long meadow grass, which they almost fan with their wings, as they seek in it their prey of small quadrupeds, such as field mice and ground squirrels, the inferior reptiles, newts, frogs, lizards, and snakes, as well as the young of game, both winged and fur-bearing, among which they make sad havoc. These birds must not be confounded with the American vultures, of which there are two species found in the United States, the cathartes aura, or turkey buzzard, as it is erroneously called, and the C. atratus, or carrion crow, as it is misnamed in the south. (See Turkey Buzzard).

European Buzzard (Buteo vulgaris).

European Buzzard (Buteo vulgaris).

Black Hawk (Archibuteo Sancti Johannis).

Black Hawk (Archibuteo Sancti Johannis).