Nature conservation

Threatened species

Black-breasted Buzzard - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Hamirostra melanosternon
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 07 Sep 2012


The Black-breasted Buzzard is one of the larger Australian birds of prey, with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres. The wings are noticeably long, relative to its body and its short square tail. In flight this species is also recognised by its black breast and the conspicuous white patches at the base of the black ‘fingered’ primaries. At rest, it has a reddish nape against the black face and back.


The Black-breasted Buzzard is found sparsely in areas of less than 500mm rainfall, from north-western NSW and north-eastern South Australia to the east coast at about Rockhampton, then across northern Australia south almost to Perth, avoiding only the Western Australian deserts.

Habitat and ecology

  • Lives in a range of inland habitats, especially along timbered watercourses which is the preferred breeding habitat.
  • Also hunts over grasslands and sparsely timbered woodlands.
  • Not a powerful hunter, despite its size, mostly taking reptiles, small mammals, birds, including nestlings, and carrion.
  • Also specialises in feeding on large eggs, including those of emus, which it cracks on a rock.
  • Breeds from August to October near water in a tall tree. The stick nest is large and flat and lined with green leaves. Normally two eggs are laid.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

CMA CMA sub-region Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Central WestBogan-Macquarie Known None
Central WestCanbelego Downs Predicted None
Central WestCapertee Known None
Central WestCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Central WestKerrabee Predicted None
Central WestLower Slopes Predicted None
Central WestNymagee-Rankins Springs Predicted None
Central WestPilliga Predicted None
Central WestPilliga Outwash Known None
Central WestTalbragar Valley Predicted None
Central WestUpper Slopes Known None
Central WestWollemi Known None
LachlanBarnato Downs Predicted None
LachlanDarling Depression (Part A) Known None
LachlanDarling Depression (Part B) Known None
LachlanLachlan Known None
LachlanLachlan Plains Known None
LachlanLower Slopes Known None
LachlanNymagee-Rankins Springs Known
LachlanSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands Predicted
Lower Murray-DarlingGreat Darling Anabranch Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingMenindee Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingMurray Scroll Belt Known
Lower Murray-DarlingPooncarie-Darling Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part A) Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part B) Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part C) Predicted
Lower Murray-DarlingSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands (Part A) Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands (Part B) Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands (Part C) Predicted
Lower Murray-DarlingSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands (Part D) Known None
MurrayMurray Fans Predicted None
MurraySouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands (Part B) Predicted None
MurrumbidgeeLower Slopes Predicted
NamoiCastlereagh-Barwon Predicted None
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part A) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part B) Known None
NamoiNorthern Basalts Predicted None
NamoiPeel Predicted None
NamoiPilliga (Part A) Known None
NamoiPilliga Outwash Predicted None
WesternBarnato Downs (Part A) Predicted None
WesternBarnato Downs (Part B) Predicted None
WesternBarrier Range Predicted
WesternBarrier Range Outwash, Fans and Plains (Part C) Known None
WesternBogan-Macquarie Predicted None
WesternBoorindal Plains (Part A) Predicted None
WesternBoorindal Plains (Part B) Known None
WesternBulloo Dunefields Known None
WesternBulloo Overflow Known None
WesternCanbelego Downs Predicted None
WesternCastlereagh-Barwon (Part A) Predicted None
WesternCastlereagh-Barwon (Part B) Predicted None
WesternCentral Depression Known None
WesternCentral Downs - Fringing Tablelands and Downs Predicted None
WesternCore Ranges (Part 13A) Predicted None
WesternCore Ranges (Part A) Predicted None
WesternCulgoa-Bokhara Predicted None
WesternDarling Depression Predicted None
WesternKerribree Basin Predicted None
WesternLouth Plains Predicted None
WesternMenindee Known None
WesternMoonie - Barwon Interfluve, Collarenebri Interfluve Predicted None
WesternMootwingee Downs Known None
WesternNarrandool 21 Known None
WesternNebine Plains, Block Range (Part A) Known None
WesternNebine Plains, Block Range (Part B) Known None
WesternNymagee-Rankins Springs Predicted None
WesternParoo Overflow Predicted None
WesternParoo Sand Sheets, Cuttaburra-Paroo Known None
WesternParoo-Darling Sands Known None
WesternScopes Range Predicted None
WesternSouth Olary Plain, Murray Basin Sands Known
WesternStrzelecki Desert, Western Dunefields Known None
WesternUrisino Sandplains Known None
WesternWarrambool-Moonie Predicted None
WesternWarrego Plains (Part A) Predicted None
WesternWarrego Plains (Part B) Predicted None
WesternWarrego Sands Predicted None
WesternWest Warrego - Tablelands and Downs (Part A) Predicted None
WesternWest Warrego - Tablelands and Downs (Part B) Predicted None
WesternWest Warrego - Tablelands and Downs (Part C) Predicted None
WesternWhite Cliffs Plateau Known None
WesternWilcannia Plains Known None