Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.20(2). (2012) p.1-12.

Should the Common Buzzard be hunted?
Tibor Csörgő, Richárd Zornánszky, Tibor Szép, Péter Fehérvári

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 The Common Buzzard is a widespread and abundant raptor in Europe. Recently, game
keepers have argued that the buzzard population has increased in Hungary and is threatening valuable small game species. Hunting of the buzzard has been prohibited since 1933, and since 1954 it has also been protected by law, in Hungary. Here we review scientific literature on recent population changes of the species, prey composition, and anatomical constraints of foraging.
We show that according to the Common Bird Monitoring Program the breeding population remained stable in 1992–2012. Because of its anatomy and its hunting techniques it is not able to hunt efficiently for valuable small game. According to studies made with different methods in different parts of Europe in the last century, most of its prey species are small mammals. Therefore, the Common Buzzard population may help sustain rodent populations, thus providing essential ecosystem services for agriculture. Game species can also occur in the diet, however the proportion is negligible and buzzards usually acquire such prey as carcasses or handicapped individuals. We found no justification in favour of lifting the hunting ban of Common Buzzards in Hungary.