Rough-legged Buzzard
Buteo lagopus

– medium-sized Raptor, marginally larger than Common Buzzard
– diurnal migrant, prefers over-land routes
– migrates singly or few individuals together


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 1CY
BIF1342, 30/10/2011, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
unusual dark 1CY individual, aged by tail pattern and light iris
– very extensive brown belly
– comparatively strong marked underwing coverts


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 1CY
BIF1344, 30/10/2011, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1342
– head and breast unusually strong patterned dark brown


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1346, 30/04/2008, Rügen, Germany, Mathias Putze
most typical 2CY (JUV plumage)
– contrasting dark-brown belly, often light thighs
– poorly marked underwing coverts, wing with only narrow dusky trailing edge
– barring of secondaries is confined to the distal part -> 1CY Long-legged Buzzard
– sparsely marked tail


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1347, 30/04/2008, Rügen, Germany, Mathias Putze
– fairly slender wings and long tail in comparison to AD
– individual with comparatively dark body


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1348, 30/04/2008, Rügen, Germany, Mathias Putze
– often the best pointer: contrast between solid dark-brown belly-patch and paler breast and head


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, AD F
BIF1342, 05/03/2012, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
– diagnostic dark brown carpal patch contrasting to paler underwing coverts (all plumages, contrast least distinct in AD M) -> Common Buzzard
– underwing coverts in F lighter and less patterned than in M


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, AD F
BIF1343, 05/03/2012, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1342
– note F tail pattern: one distinct broad black subterminal band
– rather uniform brown belly
– dark trailing edge to the wing not as broad as in older AD


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1349, 20/05/2008, Rügen, Germany, Mathias Putze
– against the light primaries more translucent than secondaries


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1350, 30/04/2008, Rügen, Germany, Mathias Putze
– note different proportion of this circling bird in comparison to BIF1349 in straight flight


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1430, 17/01/2015, Shirvan National Park, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
– fanned, pale tail with only diffusely bars of hovering birds is diagnostic in JUV plumage


Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo l. lagopus, 2CY
BIF1430, 17/01/2015, Shirvan National Park, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
same as BIF1430
– typical JUV proportion with very long tail and slender wings
– resembles JUV Long-legged Buzzard but note completely brown belly and tail pattern

voice: usually nonvocal during migration

comparison species:
European Honey Buzzard (v)
Crested Honey Buzzard (v)
Common Buzzard (v)
Long-legged Buzzard (v)
Upland Buzzard (v)
Booted Eagle (v)

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