Long-legged Buzzard
Buteo rufinus

– medium-sized raptor, slightly larger than Common Buzzard
– diurnal migrant
– migrates singly or in small, very loose flocks
– often mixed with other raptors


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1449, 29/03/2012, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
– JUV-plumage birds start moult (inner primaries) already in winter
– pale iris indicates 2CY
– pale tipped greater coverts
– tail and eagle-like head paler


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 1CY
BIF1452, 22/08/2011, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
– longer tail and narrower wings than in AD
– similar to -> 1CY Common Buzzard ssp. vulpinus but note long legs
– dark flanks
– pale sparsely marked tail
– dark carpal patch


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1459, 24/04/2011, Qarakemer, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
– can resemble -> Rough-legged Buzzard, but note unbarred tail
– underwing with faint dark greater coverts band


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1454, 11/04/2011, Kyzylkum, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
light morph
– moult gap in primaries typical for 2CY birds in spring
– light grey head and tail are the lightest parts
– light bases of the outer primaries diagnostic


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1455, 11/04/2011, Kyzylkum, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
same as BIF1454
– strong contrast between paler coverts and dark secondaries


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1456, 11/04/2011, Kyzylkum, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
same as BIF1454
– wings appear very long
– dark flanks
– growing primaries show AD pattern with broad dark terminal band


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1460, 25/04/2011, Stary Talap, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
extremely pale light morph
– almost completely unmarked pallid grey body with only dark thighs
– dark carpal patch still diagnostic


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, 2CY
BIF1457, 20/04/2011, Sauran, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
light morph
– typical long-winged silhouette
– very pale grey from below but dark carpal patch and flanks
– a hint of dark greater underwing coverts band


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus cirtensis, AD
BIF1461, 27/12/2012, Morocco, Mathias Putze
light/intermediate morph
– unmarked fox-red tail with slim subterminal band
– scaly pale fringed lesser and median coverts contrasting to uniform dark greater and primary coverts
– barring of remiges poorly visible from above


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus cirtensis, AD
BIF1462, 27/12/2012, Morocco, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1461
– less distinct dark carpal patch as in ssp. rufinus
– aged by plain tail and wings with distinct broad dark trailing edge and very fine barring
– wings held in slight ‘V’ when soaring


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus cirtensis, AD
BIF1463, 27/12/2012, Morocco, Mathias Putze
same as BIF1461
– note contrast in remiges from broad dark trailing edge to fine bars
– outer primaries without barring (-> Common Buzzard)
– slightly different proportions than ssp. rufinus (e.g. shorter winged)


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, AD
BIF1450, 27/01/2015, Quba, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
dark rufous morph
– dark iris
– pale primary patch (more distinct than in ssp. rufinus)
– different generations of the remiges
– scaly median coverts but plain lesser coverts


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, AD
BIF1451, 27/01/2015, Quba, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
same as BIF1450
– uniformly dark rufous body and underwing coverts
– slightly paler head
– darker carpal patch


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, AD
BIF1458, 23/04/2011, Qarakemer, Kazakhstan, Patrick Franke
fox red morph
– wings with comparatively narrow, indistinct trailing edge, thus probably young AD


Long-legged Buzzard Buteo r. rufinus, AD
Common Buzzard Buteo b. menetriesi (left)
BIF1453, 14/09/2016, Besh Barmag, Azerbaijan, Michael Heiß
dark rufous morph, 4th outermost primary growing during regular moult
– wings with broad dark trailing edge particularly contrasting to white primary panel
– dark carpal patch in darker birds not as obvious

voice: usually nonvocal during migration

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

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