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Israel Environment & Nature: Buzzard

Buzzard (Heb. הָיַא, ayyah), bird of prey of which different species are found in Israel.

The long-legged buzzard (Buteo ferox) feeds on birds, mammals, and insects. It can see very far and is apparently the ayyah referred to in Job 28:7 (AV: "vulture"), where the desert is described as a place which "even the eye of the ayyah has not seen." It is enumerated among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:14; Deut. 14:13). According to Abbahu, it is identical with the ra'ah mentioned in the same verse "and why is it called ra'ah – because of its remarkable sight" (ra'ah, it saw), adding "it can be in Babylon and see a carcass in the land of Israel!" (Ḥul. 63b).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.