Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Forest Buzzard (Buteo trizonatus)


French: Buse forestière German: Kapbussard Spanish: Busardo de El Cabo

Buteo buteo trizonatus


, 1957,

Knysna, Cape Province


Closely related to B. buteo and B. brachypterus and their relatives (which see) and possibly also to B. jamaicensis and B. ventralis. Has been considered conspecific with B. buteo#R. Until recently was considered conspecific with B. oreophilus, but differs in its unstreaked vs streaked chin and throat (2); plain white band across breast vs all-streaked breast (2); weaker (non-existent) terminal tailband (2); plain white vs dark-spotted undertail-coverts (ns[1]); rufous tones in various parts of plumage including back and tail, tarsal feathering and wing-coverts (ns[1]); slightly smaller size (effect size for bill −1.94, score 1) (see further published details#R#R). Has occasionally been referred to as B. tachardus, but that is a nomen nudum. Monotypic.


S & E South Africa (breeding only in Western Cape and Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

41–48 cm; c. 700 g (one unsexed individual); wingspan 102–117 cm. Monomorphic in plumage. Similar to B. oreophilus, with brownish upperparts and whitish... read more


Main call a loud plaintive mewing squeal, “kyaaah”, similar to B. buteo. Also rasping... read more


Native temperate forests and forest edge in lowlands and uplands, from sea-level to 1500 m; also... read more

Food and feeding

Rather poorly known. Twenty-one prey items at one nest consisted of 5 mammals (including Chlorotalpa duthiae, Otomys irroratus... read more


Laying late Sept–early Nov, hatching late Oct–early Dec, fledging mid-Dec–late Jan. Builds a large platform nest of pine... read more


Breeds primarily in winter rainfall area of S Cape Province, and moves N and E to forests along... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Considered to be fairly common, but because of limited geographic range global population probably... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Boesman, P., Marks, J.S. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Forest Buzzard (Buteo trizonatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).