8 Difference Between Buzzard and Vulture (With Table)

Buzzard and vulture are two names referring to birds of prey. The two tend to confuse many people. In North America, they refer to both birds as vultures. In other parts of the world, the vulture is a vulture, the buzzard is a hawk and sometimes the hawk is a buzzard.

So, what is the difference between buzzard and vulture? A buzzard has strong feet which help them to grasp its prey while a vulture has very weak feet. More so, buzzards have feathers on their heads and neck while vultures have bald heads and necks.

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Comparison Table (Buzzard vs Vulture)

Characteristics Buzzard Vulture
Meaning Refers to a large hawk-like bird of prey with broad wings and a rounded tail often seen soaring in wide circles. Refers to a large bird of prey with the head and the neck more or less bare of feathers feeding mainly on carrion.
Classification Belongs to the family Accipitridae. Belongs to the order Falconiformes.
Species There are 26 species. There are 23 species.
Feet Has strong feet. Has weak feet.
Head and neck Covered with feathers. Baldhead and neck.
Senses Has a strong sense of sight. Has a strong sense of smell.
Feeding habits They actively capture their prey. Mainly feed on carrion.
Names depending on geographical location  In the USA buzzards refer to hawks vultures refer to turkey vulture and black vulture. In Europe, Asia, and Africa the order Falconiformes refer to the vulture.
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What is a Buzzard?

A buzzard is a large hawk-like bird of prey with broad wings and a rounded tail often seen soaring in circles. It has strong feet that enable it to catch its prey. Its head and neck are covered with feathers. Buzzard is an old European word used to describe many species of hawk.

There are 26 species of buzzards in the world. All these species are known to have a strong sense of sight in order for them to notice their prey from a distance. They are very active when capturing their prey.

Buzzards can live in forests, grasslands, deserts, and seal coats. Their medium size bodies and broad wings and tails are what make them able to soar on thermal currents. They hide in trees and attack living prey.

What is a Vulture?

A vulture is a large bird of prey with a head and the neck more or less bare of feathers feeding mainly on carrion. In the USA they are referred to as turkey vulture or black vulture. Can be divided into old world vultures and new world vultures. Old World vultures live in Europe, Asia, and Africa while new world vultures live in warm and temperate areas of America.

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They have bald heads and necks which make them different from the buzzards. They have long and broad wings which help them in gliding. They have weak feet and this makes them not able to capture living prey.

As they feed on carrion, they have a bad reputation. But they are important as they clear off the carcass which in turn prevent the spread of diseases.

Main Differences between Buzzard and Vulture

  1. Buzzards have feathers on their head and neck while vultures have bald heads and necks.
  2. Buzzards feed on living prey while vultures feed on carrion.
  3. Buzzards have a very strong sense of sight while vultures have a very strong sense of smell.
  4. Buzzards have strong feet while vultures have weak feet.

Similarities between Buzzard and Vulture

  1. They are both birds of prey.
  2. The names are confusing as the two are old and new world vultures.
  3. They both have long and broad wings.
  4. Both have curved beaks and sharp claws.
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In Conclusion

Both buzzards and vultures are birds of prey. Buzzard is a hawk-like animal with strong feet. Vultures have weak feet and bald heads and necks. Buzzards actively capture their prey while vultures mainly feed on carrion although they are of use as they clear the carcass living the environment conducive hence minimizing the spread of diseases. The main features that make the buzzard different from vulture anatomical features and behavior.

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