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Buteo Morph allows everyone interested in the Common buzzard to actively contribute to our research at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology.
The Common buzzard, Buteo buteo, is a medium-sized, broad-winged, rather common raptor with a broad, short neck and medium-length tail. Buzzards are often seen perched on fence posts, telegraph poles or trees watching for prey. Buzzards also soar, showing a fan-shaped, spread tail and wings held pressed forward and lifted in a shallow V.
Buzzards have a very variable plumage: the extremes go from very dark to almost completely white individuals. Such colour polymorphism is common in raptor species. Colour morphs are inherited, i.e. offspring will look like their parents.In this project we are aiming to investigate the geographical and temporary differences in the distribution of the various morph-types in the Common buzzard. We would like to find out how the variation in plumage colour can be maintained over time. The individual performance of different morphs may depend on habitat characteristics and could vary in space (at a small or large scale) and time.
Potential long-term changes and spatial variation in morph frequencies are largely unexplored. Furthermore little is known about whether the plumage colour affects the buzzard’s survival and reproductive success. There are only two datasets available from the Netherlands on long-term developments of the frequency of different morphs as well as morph-dependent consequences on survival probability and reproductive success.
To collect information on the distribution of different morph-types across Europe, we need your help.
If you see a Common buzzard, you can record the time and GPS-position through this website and choose the picture that best describes the morph you have seen. The information will be uploaded to our central database, where we can then combine your data with those of other users. You can follow your own observations and that of others on distribution maps. These maps also allow you to search for specific areas or periods over the year where information is still missing. In this way you can contribute to research in Behavioural Ecology.
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