STEPPE BUZZARD The beautiful Steppe Buzzard is perhaps the default migrant raptor in Israel, particularly during early spring. Wintering in sub-saharan Africa, India and also in southeastern Asia, it spends its summers in the coniferous or mixed forests of eastern and northeastern Europe eastward to the Far East. Seen by most authorities as a subspecies of our familiar Buzzard it is quite a distinctive bird. Smaller, with a longer tail and narrower more pointed wings, it tends to be a rustier looking bird. Once you get used to them you will notice that their wing beats are quicker paced than that of the more ponderous Buzzard. There have been a few reported from our shores over the years but they remain an extreme rarity and are a minefield for the unwary as care must be taken when trying to separate them from the varied plumages of the nominate race. The sheer number of birds that pass through Eilat every year is a sight to be seen.