Augur Buzzard

Buteo augur

Animal Ambassadors


This strikingly-plumaged raptor is closely related to our red-tailed hawks here in North America and occupies a similar ecological niche. Augurs are one of the highest-flying of all birds, preferring high-altitude habitats and frequently sighted soaring between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Its name can be a source of confusion for Americans due to the varying uses of the word “buzzard;” in the New World, it denotes a carrion eating bird, while in Europe and Africa, it means hawk.

Early European colonists saw vultures soaring overhead and mistook them for the familiar hawks back home. The name stuck, and now we frequently refer to vultures as “buzzards.” The Seattle Seahawks also use an African augur buzzard as a live mascot; the term “seahawk” is actually a colloquial term for Osprey, which are protected native species. Augur buzzards, on the other hand, are native to Africa and much more suitable falconry birds.

Small mammals, ground-dwelling birds, reptiles, carrion, insects
Southeastern Africa; Ethiopia to southern Tanzania and Namibia
10-25 years / 30-40 years
Open savannah, highlands, and cultivated lands with adjacent mountains
Length / Wingspan:
4-5 ft
2-3 lbs