Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Grasshopper Buzzard (Butastur rufipennis)


French: Busautour des sauterelles German: Heuschreckenteesa Spanish: Busardo langostero
Other common names: Grasshopper Buzzard-hawk

Poliornis rufipennis


, 1850,

Khartoum, Sudan


Only African member of genus, forming a species-group with Asian B. teesa, B. liventer and B. indicus. Monotypic.


Senegambia E to Eritrea and Ethiopia; migrates S to a long belt extending from Sierra Leone E through Nigeria, Cameroon and NE DRCongo to Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

35–44 cm; male 310–342 g, female 300–408 g; wingspan 92–106 cm. Mid-sized hawk, with weak bill, small head, relatively long legs and medium-length... read more


Gives loud chattering "ki-ki-ki-ki-keee", but only in breeding season.


Ranges from woodland and forest edge to arid thorn savanna and even subdesert scrub; sometimes on... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly insects, especially grasshoppers, together with mantids, termite and ant alates, beetles, stick insects and spiders. Will take some... read more


Laying during rainy season: Mar–Apr across Sahel zone; Apr–May in N Cameroon; nest-building, Mar in Mali, and 2 young in... read more


A widespread and common intra-African sub-Saharan migrant, moving across 22° of latitude (... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Locally abundant in several areas of W Africa during dry season, outnumbering all other raptors but Milvus migrans... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Grasshopper Buzzard (Butastur rufipennis). 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 27 February 2020).