IDENTIFICATION. Similar in appearance to the Common Buzzard the Rough-leg can be distinguished in several ways. Firstly the wings are narrower than those of the Common Buzzard, with a pale under wing that has distinct dark carpal patches. The finger feathering at the end of the wing is also dark with a band running along the back edge of the wing to the body. The tail is light, almost white, with a single dark bar that marks the end.
Often mistaken for other buzzards
IN FLIGHT. When soaring on hot air thermals the wings are held flat. The Rough-legged Buzzard may also be seen hovering like a large lumbering Kestrel. This is also a feature of Common Buzzards as they 'wait on', using the wind to remain stationary in the air, whilst looking for food.
DISTRIBUTION. A winter visitor to the East of Britain, from Scandinavia. Its usual habitat being tundra and mountains, coming to coastal margins and marsh areas for winter.
WHEN SEEN. A winter visitor.
FOOD. Mammals up to rabbit size, including lemmings. Birds may also be taken.
BREEDING. April. 2 to 3 eggs laid in tree nest or on cliff. Young hatch after 4- 5 weeks, flying 40-45 days later.
SIZE. 51-61cm (20-24in)
Not generally used in falconry. Slightly bigger than the Common Buzzard it would probably act in much the same way. In summer it would want to migrate north away from the (rare) English summer sun.
NB. If you buy one of these raptors it should be fitted with a closed leg ring and have an Article 10 form with it (any queries check with DEFRA).