Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Black-breasted Buzzards - a pair and now a chick can be seen

It has been a couple of weeks since I first found the nest thanks to a tip from a friend. During that time I have learnt a lot more about the behaviour of the Buzzards during "nesting". I've watched amazed as particular birds fly past or sit near the nest without either of the adults giving even a side-ways glance, and then watch the teamwork in protecting their nesting "space" against birds they do consider a threat. The best example of this was late last week when a Wedge-tailed Eagle dared to come within 400 metres of the nest. At the time, the female was on the nest and the male was presumably hunting not far away. The male was the most vocal have heard him, and dive-bombed the Wedgie. The female was quickly off the nest to join in the attack. They succeeded in keeping the Wedgie well away from their nest. It was an interesting move by the female. The danger presented by the Wedgie out-weighed the potential danger to her chick from the nesting neighbours, the Brown Goshawks. I had only just become aware there was a chick in the nest that same day as I could hear its cries for food when the male returned to the nest. The three other threats that need to be seen off by only one of the adults while the nest stays attended are a pair of Little Eagles who seem to visit once a day, a pair of Whistling Kites who have a nest about 300 metres away from the Buzzard nest, and a pair of Black Kites, who's nest is only 150 metres south down the riverbed. The three listed seem to be in order of urgency, Little Eagles the biggest threat of the three, Black Kites the least threatening. Mainly it seems to be the female who heads these other three birds of prey out of her "range". She circles to a radius of about 300 metres from the nest for the Little Eagles, about 200m for the Whistling Kites and only 100 or so metres for the Black Kites.

Of the two, the female is by far the most vocal. The male sounds more like a falcons "peeping" whereas the female is more like a Galah's squawk.

The chick has only just started to poke its head above the nest rim. It is a grey white headed colour at the moment.

I have seen rodents, reptiles and birds all being brought back to the nest as food. The bird prey is interesting as I wouldn't have expected the Buzzards to be quick enough to capture them, but maybe they are raiding other nests. It would be great to try to track the adults to see how far they go to hunt, but that isn't possible.

The majority of the time the adult Buzzards are extremely tolerant of my presence. I have had one occasion where the female seemed to be glaring at me and squawking. I had been sitting well away from the nest and she landed in a nearby tree. I don't know if she knew I was there, or just got a shock when she saw me after she had landed. She had just returned from a hunt and stopped briefly at the nest before landing on her nearby perch. In any case, I returned to the car about 100 metres away. They have been such a delight to be around, the last thing I want to do is upset them.

I'll continue to watch, photograph, video and sound record them for as long as either I'm able to with work commitments, or they move off once the chick(s) have fledged.

Here are some more recent photos.

Black-breasted Buzzards

Female "squawk"

Female "pose"

Female leaving nest

Female wing stretch

Female take-off
Male leaving nest

Male returning to nest with prey

Pair on the nest

from left - Dad, Chick, Mum


  1. Great article and excellent pictures, Richard. I've only ever seen two or three distant buzzards. It would keep me a abuzz seeing such a family. Keep up the good work.

    1. Nice pun Russell, bit very apt. I've been lucky as I have seen quite a few Buzzards but never like this. Stay tuned for the thesis 😄 and the movie 😄. Actually I will be making a video, e-mail me your address in Oz and I'll send it for Christmas. Just promise you'll do likewise with your Eagles. Get out there before it freezes over!

  2. Your story of watching the nesting buzzards reminds me of the time I was hired by the Fish and Game dept. to monitor a Northern goshawk nest. If I showed up while an adult, (mostly the female) was on the nest it showed little concern about me.
    If I showed up when the adult was off the nest it would scream continuously until I walked out of sight. Then I could return and find the bird sitting on the nest and it would ignore me.

    1. Hi John, sounds like a fun experience. The BBB female just seems to like the sound of her own voice sometimes, and generally she is calling to the male, who mostly seems oblivious to her squawking. Generally when she is on the nest, she sits there quietly. Possibly the difference is in the location of the nest, theirs is way up high, I'm thinking the Goshawks would have been lower like our Brown Goshawk nest is, about half tree height about 25 feet above the ground. Lovely to hear of others experiences. Thanks.