Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Japanese Buzzard (Buteo japonicus)


French: Buse du Japon German: Taigabussard Spanish: Busardo japonés
Other common names: Eastern Buzzard

Buteo japonicus

Temminck and Schlegel

, 1844,



Usually considered conspecific with B. buteo and, by extension, B. refectus, B. oreophilus, B. trizonatus and also B. brachypterus; closely related to all five, and possibly also to B. jamaicensis and B. ventralis. Weakly distinct morphologically from B. buteo and B. refectus#R#R, more so vocally#R and strongly so genetically#R; evidently much hybridization in recent past, and species boundaries likely to be redrawn with further research, but present arrangement, although unlikely to be supported by the scoring system used herein, appears appropriate in the interim. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. j. japonicus Temminck & Schlegel, 1844 – L Baikal area and N Mongolia E through Amurland and NE China to Sakhalin, Japan and S Kuril Is; winters from Korea and Japan to S & SE Asia.
  • B. j. toyoshimai Momiyama, 1927 – Izu Is and Bonin Is.
  • B. j. oshiroi Nagahisa Kuroda, 1971 – Daito Is (E of C Ryukyu Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    42–54 cm; male 630–810 g, female 515–970 g; wingspan 122–137 cm. Similar to Buteo buteo but less variable in plumage. Nominate race largest (... read more


    Main vocalization a descending two-note scream or cry that may be harsh or rather plaintive, the... read more


    Variable, but usually a mix of treed and open terrain from sea-level to at least 1300 m elevation... read more

    Food and feeding

    Little quantitative information. A variety of animal prey reported, including mammals up to size of hares (Lepus), birds as large... read more


    Poorly studied until recently. Breeds on Honshu in Apr–Jul, the nest built 6–20+ m off ground in pines (Pinus spp.) or... read more


    Birds from the Asian mainland and Hokkaido mostly migrants, being present in Apr–Oct, whereas... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. No data on numbers or population trends for nominate race or race oshiroi from Daito Is; oshiroi is very... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Japanese Buzzard (Buteo japonicus). 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).