Do Buzzards Eat Cats? What You Need To Know

The general consensus to the question ‘Do buzzards eat cats? is no. British buzzards are grouped under the heading of hawks and therefore are raptors.

They will eat anything from insects to small mammals. Their main source of food, however, are rabbits.

They are also known as carrion eaters. If you aren’t convinced, then there are precautions you can take for your peace of mind.

Hope To Keep Your Cat Safe From Buzzards

  1. Keep your cats inside.
  2. Don’t leave birdseed outside.
  3. Scare buzzards away with noise.
  4. Use a buzzard deterrent.
General Facts About Buzzards:
– Scientific name: Buteo buteo
– Lifespan: up to 12 years average
– Size: 12-28 inches
– Wingspan: up to 6ft or more
– Diet: carnivorous
– Habitat: hilly terrain, near open country

Statistics about Buzzards

British buzzards have had a turbulent history. Their numbers declined drastically from the 1800s because they were seen as a threat to game birds and were hunted.  Between the two World Wars, their numbers surged again.

a buzzard flying

On the 1950s, myxomatosis severely impacted the rabbit population and with rabbits being their staple food source,  buzzards became poisoned and their numbers declined again. As rabbits became more resistant to the disease the buzzard population grew again.

A UK study in 2000 recorded between 31,000-44,000 nesting pairs.

Females lay 2-4 eggs.

They can be found in every county.

Buzzards are all year round residents of the British Isles.


Also Read:
Do Owls Eat Cats?
Do Hawks Eat Cats?
Do Eagles Eat Cats?


Anecdotal Evidence Of Buzzard Attacks On Cats

Although it is possible that some of the larger species of hawk will attack a cat, there is little evidence of the British common buzzard doing so. Cats don’t seem to be on the menu.

It may seem odd, as buzzards habitually dine on rabbits and other small mammals.

Apart from being predators and actively hunting mice, rats, voles, reptiles and amphibians, buzzards don’t seem to have much interest in cats as a food source.

black breasted buzzard

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, as birds of prey are opportunistic hunters. Raptors don’t usually prey on other predators. They usually target defenceless herbivores who have virtually no way to fight back.

Most British buzzards are fairly small, and it is fairly obvious that they wouldn’t attack an animal as big or bigger than themselves. A lot of domestic cats grow to some size because they are pampered by their owners.

Most will outweigh a buzzard. A small bird of prey probably couldn’t lift a cat off the ground. Buzzards may be seen eating dead cats but is also certainly roadkill. These hawks are also scavengers and are carrion eaters. Feral cats may be a different case as generally they are smaller than the average domestic cat.   

Buzzards got to eat, same as the worms.

Clint Eastwood

Cats vs Buzzards

An antagonistic encounter between the two would be hard to call. A buzzard has strong talons and a wickedly sharp beak, whereas a cat has a mouth full of needle-sharp teeth and four sets of nasty claws.

a buzzard

Although buzzards do hunt on the ground, birds are usually ungainly when walking. In this case cats are much more agile. Despite the fact that cats do hunt birds, buzzards and cats aren’t natural enemies.

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4.

The Red List for Birds (2015)

Cats at Risk

It is doubtful that any cat is in real danger of being snatched by a buzzard. Surprise meetings between animals that don’t normally see each other as prey does happen, sometimes with surprising or tragic results.

black cat on the prowl

Buzzards are known to very territorial and a cat may be seen as encroaching on their hunting grounds. This may trigger an attack.

Nesting pairs of hawks will defend their chicks if they think a cat is endangering them. Inquisitive cats may well be in danger because of that.

Thankfully, legal protection and a drop in persecution and pesticide use has allowed the population to recover.

woodlandtrust.org.uk

How to Keep Buzzards Away

  1. Loud noises frighten buzzards.
  2. Install motion sensor sound makers.
  3. Install motion sensor sprinklers.
  4. Hang up string of cow bells.
  5. Use Geese decoys. Geese attack hawks in the wild.
  6. Use buzzard decoys to make they think they are in another bird’s territory.
  7. Shake the trees they perch in.

The common buzzard appears to be the most common diurnal raptor in Europe, as estimates of its total global population run well into the millions.

Birdlife 2005

Other Pets at Risk

Other pets are likely to share the same level of danger as your cat. In the case of other pets, they may not have any kind of defences against airborne predators and so may become an opportunistic target.

One thing is certain, hawks prey on other birds, and so if you put out bird feeders to attract birds, that will attract hawks to your property, possibly endangering not only your cat, but your other pets too.

do buzzards eat cats

Take-Away

All the evidence points to the fact that buzzards aren’t a real threat to your cat. Your cat is far more likely to be run over by than being hunted and eaten by a buzzard.

Although ferocious hunters, these birds have other sources of food that they can rely on.


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