White-eyed buzzard (Butastur teesa)
White-eyed buzzard (Butastur teesa)


@Thippagondanahalli (T.G. Halli), Bangalore


@Hennagara Lake, Bangalore

The white-eyed buzzard (Butastur teesa) is a medium sized hawk, distinct from the true buzzards in the genus Buteo, found in South Asia. Adults have a rufous tail, a distinctive white iris, and a white throat bearing a dark mesial stripe bordered. The head is brown and the median coverts of the upper wing are pale. They lack the typical carpal patches on the underside of the wings seen in true buzzards but the entire wing lining appears dark in contrast to the flight feathers. They sit upright on perches for prolonged periods and soar on thermals in search of insect and small vertebrate prey. They are vociferous in the breeding season and several birds may be heard calling as they soar together.

Description & Behavior

This slim and small sized hawk is easily identified by its white iris to the eye and the white throat and dark mesial stripe. A white spot is sometimes visible on the back of the head. When perched the wing tip nearly reaches the tip of the tail. The ceres are distinctly yellow and the head is dark with the underside of the body darkly barred. In flight the narrow wings appear rounded with black tips to the feathers and the wing-lining appears dark. The upper wing in flight shows a pale bar over the brown. The rufous tail is barred with a darker subterminal band. Young birds have the iris brownish and the forehead is whitish and a broad supercilium may be present. The only confusion can occur in places where it overlaps with the grey-faced buzzard (Butastur indicus), adults of which have a distinctive white supercilium. Fledgelings are reddish brown unlike most other downy raptor chicks which tend to be white.
The specific name teesa is derived from the name in Hindi. The name Butastur was used to indicate that it was between the Buteo buzzards and Astur, an old name for the sparrowhawks. Molecular phylogeny studies suggest that the genus is a sister group of the Buteoninae.

Then came night that was like falling water. At times, for hours, a bird spirit, half buzzard, half swan, just above the rushes from which a snow-storm howls.
Peter Huchel

The white-eyed buzzard has an extremely large range and population and hence it considered not vulnerable.

Size: 43cm  |  Wingspan: 86-100cm |  Weight: 325 g |  Lifespan:15 -20 years