Buteo is a genus of medium to fairly large, wide-ranging raptors with a robust body and broad wings. In the Old World, members of this genus are called "buzzards", but "hawk" is used in the New World (Etymology: Buteo is the Latin name of the common buzzard). As both terms are ambiguous, buteo is sometimes used instead, for example, by the Peregrine Fund.
The Buteo hawks include many of the most widely distributed, most common, and best-known raptors in the world. Examples include the red-tailed hawk of North America, the common buzzard of Eurasia, and the roadside hawk of tropical Central and South America. Most Northern Hemisphere species are at least partially migratory. In North America, species such as broad-winged hawks and Swainson's hawks are known for their huge numbers (often called "kettles") while passing over major migratory flyways in the fall. Up to tens of thousands of these Buteos can be seen each day during the peak of their migration. Any of the prior mentioned common Buteo species may have total populations that exceed a million individuals. On the other hand, the Socotra buzzard and Galapagos hawks are considered vulnerable to extinction per the IUCN. The Ridgway's hawk is even more direly threatened and is considered Critically Endangered. These insular forms are threatened primarily by habitat destruction, prey reductions and poisoning. The latter reason is considered the main cause of a noted decline in the population of the more abundant Swainson's hawk, due to insecticides being used in southern South America, which the hawks ingest through crickets and then die from poisoning.