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the web of life in southern Africa

Buteo augur (Augur buzzard) 

Witborsjakkalsvoël [Afrikaans]; augurbuizerd [Dutch]; Buse augure [French]; Augurbussard [German]; Bútio-augur [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Falconiformes > Family: Accipitridae > Genus: Buteo

Buteo augur (Augur buzzard)   

Augur buzzard, Tanzania. [photo Charles England ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in a band from Eritrea and Ethiopia, to Zambia, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and central Mozambique. It generally favours mountainous or hilly areas with rock outcrops, especially with woodland, savanna, scrub or montane grassland.

Distribution of Augur buzzard in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Predators and parasites

  • Predators of chicks and eggs
  • Parasites (found in a chick's nostrils)
    • Passeromyia heterochaeta (Tropical nest fly larvae)

Movements and migrations

Resident, although juveniles disperse from their parents' territory once they become fully independent.


It mainly eats reptiles, supplemented with mammals and birds, doing most of its hunting from a perch or from the air, swooping to the ground before grabbing its prey. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Usually a monogamous, territorial solitary nester, although both polyandry (two males mating with one female) and polygyny (one male mating with two females) have been recorded. In a courtship display the male repeatedly dives at a perched female, or alternatively they may dive synchronously before locking their talons.
  • Egg-laying season is from July-November, peaking from August-October.
  • It almost invariably lays two eggs, 2-4 days apart, which are incubated by both sexes for about 39-40 days.
  • The older chick starts to attack its younger sibling as soon as it starts moving; the younger chick is usually dead by the time it reaches 5-8 days old. The remaining chick is closely brooded by the female up to ten days after hatching, while the male delivers food to both of them. The chick leaves the nest after about 50-60 days old, becoming fully independent after another 14-30 days or so.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.