Buteo rufofuscus (Jackal buzzard) 

Rooiborsjakkalsvoël [Afrikaans]; Indlandlokazi [Xhosa]; iNhlandlokazi, isiKhobotho [Zulu]; Khajoane (also applied to Steppe buzzard), Tlatloatšoana [South Sotho]; Jakhalsbuizerd [Dutch]; Buse rounoir [French]; Felsenbussard [German]; Bútio-de-cauda-vermelha [Portuguese]

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Buteo rufofuscus (Jackal buzzard)  Buteo rufofuscus (Jackal buzzard) 

Jackal buzzard, Kleinmond, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo David Robertson ©]

Jackal buzzard, Kleinmond, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo David Robertson ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to southern Africa, occurring from western and southern Namibia and south-western Botswana to South Africa. It generally prefers hilly or and mountainous areas with Karoo, fynbos, grassland, open woodland or semi-desert. It is often found in habitats with short vegetation, so it can be found in mountain ranges up to 3000 metres above sea level, an elevation which few other raptors occur.

Distribution of Jackal buzzard in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Resident and locally nomadic, sometimes travelling long distances in response to food availability.


It mainly eats mammals, supplemented with birds and lizards, doing most of its hunting from high up in the air or from a perch. Once its spots something, it stoops to the ground to catch its prey, or alternatively it can intercept  birds aerially. It also scavenges at carcasses, especially in Winter when food is scarce. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Usually a monogamous, territorial solitary nester, although it has been recorded to be polyandrous in the Lesotho highlands. In this area, one female may mate with two males, who both of whom provide food for her and defend the territory from intruders.
  • The nest is built by both sexes, starting up to three months before egg-laying. The structure consists of a platform of thin branches, with a cup lined with grass, leaves and lichen. It is typically placed on a ledge halfway up a cliff, although it may also use the major fork of a tree, such as the following:
    • alien trees
      • Pinus (pines)
      • Eucalyptus
      • Populus (poplars)
      • Salix (willows
    • indigenous trees
      • Rhus (currants)
      • Euphorbia
Buteo rufofuscus (Jackal buzzard)   

Jackal buzzard at its nest with chick, Bakoondkrans, Nylsvley area, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from June-February, peaking from July-September.
  • It lays 1-3, usually 2 eggs, which are mainly incubated by the female for about 39-40 days, while the male feeds her regularly at the nest.
  • The chicks are cared for closely by the female for the first two weeks of their lives, while the male provides all the food. Thereafter, the female joins the male out hunting. The older chick viciously attacks its younger sibling, who inevitably dies before the end of the nestling period. The remaining chick leaves the nest at about 50-53 days old, becoming fully independent a few weeks later.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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