Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) on Siargao island, Philippines

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus): First Lifer of 2018!

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This Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) flew through our yard here on Siargao yesterday and perched on this coconut frond. Unfortunately, it was mostly obscured by a large mango tree and it was difficult to get an open view. But thought I’d share a few photos since this medium-sized migratory hawk is not a common sight here and was a first for me (a lifer).

Actually, at first I thought this might be the more common resident Oriental Honey Buzzard. Also it certainly bears a strong resemblance to the Chinese Sparrowhawk¬†another migratory raptor we spotted in the yard back in October. British ornithologist Desmond Allen, who’s always generous with his time and knowledge, identified this accipter¬† for me as a Grey-faced Buzzard.

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) on Siargao island, Philippines
Notice this Grey-faced Buzzard’s bright yellow iris and barred tail feathers.

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) on Siargao island, Philippines

Migration: The Grey-faced Buzzard Breeds in China, Russia, and the Korean Peninsula. The majority of the population, however, breeds in Japan.

In the winter this raptor migrates south to Taiwan, the Philippines, and even parts of Indonesia. The Grey-faced Buzzard winters in parts of Indochina and Southeast Asia, as well.

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) on Siargao island, Philippines

Diet: Being a bird of prey, the Grey-faced Buzzard feeds on frogs, crustaceans, lizards, insects, snakes, small rodents and sometimes even on other birds.

Grey-faced Buzzard (Butastur indicus) on Siargao island, Philippines

So, you can see these aren’t the clearest of photos but we’re hoping this migratory raptor spends some more of his winter months here on Siargao before returning to breed in the northern parts of Asia come springtime.


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