honey buzzard

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

honey buzzard,

common name for several medium-sized, buzzardlike hawks (genus Pernis) of Eurasia and Africa. The European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus, is predominantly reddish brown, and its tail is marked by three lateral brown bands, though its color varies. As with many birds of prey, the female tends to be larger than the male, with a wingspan of up to 60 in. (152 cm). Honey buzzards have a pointed, decurved bill, and a unique (among birds of prey) patch between eyes and bill, which is covered with scalelike, rather than large, bristly feathers. They have powerful toes and strong claws.

Honey buzzards are found throughout the Old World, where they feed on a diet of bees, wasps, other insects, and honey and honeycomb, which the birds steal from hives. The entire breeding season, from nest building to independence of the young, takes as long as five months. For this reason, many breed only every second year. The female lays two white, brown-spotted eggs per clutch, which are incubated for a period of 30 days.

In winter, the European honey buzzard migrates to breeding grounds in Africa. The larger crested honey buzzard, P. ptilorhyncus, of Asia also migrates to southern regions in the winter; the barred honey buzzard, P. celebensis, is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of the Malay Archipelago. The honey buzzards, which are not closely related to the true buzzards of the genus Buteo (see hawkhawk,
name generally applied to the smaller members of the Accipitridae, a heterogeneous family of diurnal birds of prey, such as the eagle, the kite, and the Old World vulture.
..... Click the link for more information.
), are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
..... Click the link for more information.
, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Accipitriformes, family Accipitridae.

Honey Buzzard


(Pernis apivorus), a predatory bird of the family Falconidae. The body length is about 60 cm, and the wingspread about 140 cm. The color of the plumage is variable, especially in young birds. In adults the back is gray-brown, and the underparts are dark with light markings. The legs are strong, with blunt talons adapted for digging out underground nests of wasps and bees, whose larvae the honey buzzard feeds on (hence the name). Rigid, scalelike plumelets protect the facial parts of the head from stinging insects. The honey buzzard also eats other insects, as well as frogs, rodents, and, occasionally, birds. It nests in Europe and western Asia and winters in Africa. In the USSR it nests as far east as the Altai. The honey buzzard inhabits hardwood forests and builds its nests in trees. One to three eggs are laid per clutch, and they are incubated, primarily by the female, for 30 to 35 days. A closely related species, the Siberian honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus), lives in the USSR east of Central Siberia.

References in periodicals archive ?
Honey buzzards are the most frequently observed raptors to migrate through the bottleneck; as many as half a million pass through each autumn.
The Foundation's Roy Dennis said: "One of the messages to come out of this study is that the small number of honey buzzard nests in Scotland need special conservation.
Honey buzzards normally avoid long stretches of sea and experts hope the chick is resting on something floating.
More than 100 species have been recorded either breeding or passing through, with some rather pleasant surprises: two common crane, a willow tit, honey buzzard and a purple heron make up the list of unusual species.
BIRD experts aim to shed light on the secret life of the elusive honey buzzard in the forests of South Wales.
They included two Golden Eagle eggs, two Honey Buzzard eggs and four Egyptian Vulture eggs.
The proposed list would consist of: golden eagle, whitetailed eagle, goshawk, honey buzzard, marsh harrier, Montagu's harrier and osprey.
Along with being a visitor attraction, the centre, behind the Beamish Hall Hotel, plays an important conservation role and has a breeding programme for rarer species such as the honey buzzard.
Meanwhile a honey buzzard chick in South Wales has been taken by a goshawk.
This is the first time a British honey buzzard has been satellite tracked on its northward migration and so far there are no great surprises as she is broadly retracing her southward journey last autumn," he added.
A research project is also planned with Newcastle University on the honey buzzard.
A honey buzzard chick at the Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot, which was also the subject of a public viewing scheme, was killed by a goshawk