This paper reviews various external characters in Old World buzzards (genus Buteo) in an attempt to clarify the taxonomic status of the small African Buteos. The results of shared characters indicate that B. trizonatus and B. brachypterus are closely similar and show resemblence to the japonicus-group of B. buteo which implies relict populations in southern Africa and Madagascar. Buteo oreophilus of eastern Africa is correlated in structure and some random aspects of plumage with B. auguralis and thus may be considered monophyletically related. On the great plumage disparaties and few character similarities B. oreophilus and trizonatus possibly should not be considered conspecific, pending further studies on apparent intermediates occurring in Malawi. At very least these forms are a superspecies.