Despite its name, this species is not related to Buteo buzzards, and is closer to the kites.
It is a summer migrant to most of Europe and western Asia, wintering in tropical Africa. It is a specialist feeder, living mainly on the larvae and nests of wasps, although it will take other small prey.
It breeds in woodland, and is inconspicuous except in the Spring, when the mating display includes wing-clapping.
It is larger and longer winged than Common Buzzard Buteo buteo. It appears longer necked with a small head, and soars on flat wings. It has a longer tail, which has fewer bars than that buzzard.
Unusually for a large bird of prey, the sexes can be distinguished. The male has a blue-grey head, while the female's head is brown. She is slightly larger and darker than the male.