What do they look like? A medium to large sized raptor, approximately 50cm- 60cm from head to tail. Females are always slightly larger than the males. They have broad heads but short tails. Broad wings, with a wingspan measuring between 145cm – 155cm. Black-breasted Buzzards have a large hooked bill and large powerful feet. Colours are mainly black around breast and belly, rufous (red/brown) over most of the head and back. Distinct white “window” markings above and below which make this bird easy to identify in flight.
What do they look like? Black-breasted Buzzards are endemic to Australia and found throughout central and northern regions. They prefer woodlands and open country within tropical, temperate and semi-arid to arid regions of central Australia. Wherever possible they will nest and roost along tree lined watercourses, lakes and floodplains.
What do they eat? Black-breasted buzzards are carnivorous. They favour rabbits, large lizards and small to medium sized birds, though they will also eat snakes and insects. They are able to eat the eggs of large birds like emu, brolga and bustard, using stones and pebbles to crack into the hard shelled eggs.
Behavior: Black-breasted Buzzards are shy and reclusive so they are not often studied or observed. They are most commonly seen solitary or in pairs but have been recorded in family groups of 3 birds. Groups of 5 birds have been recorded feeding on the already dead carcasses of other birds.
Reproduction: Breeding season for the Black-breasted Buzzard is between July to December with the first clutches of eggs being laid between August and early October. They lay between 1 and 3 eggs in a clutch. Both sexes share incubation equally which lasts between 36 and 40 days. Both parents brood the chicks that fledge at around 60 days old.
Threats: Main threats to Black-breasted Buzzards include habitat destruction and disturbance. Some populations may be affected by illegal egg collecting. They are rarely persecuted but are sometimes poisoned, shot and hit by cars.
Conservation Status:Black-breasted Buzzards currently hold a common status and are listed as of “Least Concern” under The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Categories and Criteria ver 3.1.