Tuesday, January 4, 2011

White Eye Buzzard

White-eyed Buzzard

(Butastur teesa)
Photo taken at Tadoba - Andhari Tiger Reserve

  • Description: This slim and small sized hawk is easily identified by its white iris to the eye and the white throat and dark mesial stripe. A white nuchal spot is sometimes visible. When perched the wing tip nearly reaches the tip of the tail. The ceres are distinctly yellow and the head is dark with the underside of the body darkly barred. In flight it shows rounded but narrow wings with black tips to the feathers and the wing-lining appears dark. The upper wing in flight shows a pale bar over the brown. The tail is barred with a darker subterminal band. Young birds have the iris brownish and the forehead is whitish and a broad supercilium may be present.

  • Distribution: This species is widely distributed in South Asia, throughout India in the plains and extending up to 1000 m in the Himalayas. It is a resident in Iran, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is absent from Sri Lanka and is probably absent from the Andamans. It is a summer visitor in northeastern Afghanistan. It is mainly found in the plains but may go up to 1200m in the foothills of the Himalayas. The usual habitat is in dry, open forest or cultivation. They are numerous in some areas but declining. A survey in the late 1950s estimated about 5000 birds in the vicinity of Delhi in an area of about 50,000 km2.

  • Diet and Breeding: The feed mainly on locusts, grasshoppers, crickets and other large insects as well as mice, lizards and frogs. They may also take crabs from near wetlands and have even been reported to take larger prey like the Black - naped Hare (Lepus nigricollis).

    The breeding season is February to May. The nest is loose platform of twigs not unlike that of a crow. The usual clutch is three eggs. Both sexes share nest-building and feeding young; female alone incubates.