honey buzzard

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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.
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), 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.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Accipitriformes, family Accipitridae.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rare: honey The latter may now be 10-a-penny in many parts of England, but only a handful of smaller honey buzzards make the summer journey to nest.
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.
I recently visited Afan Argoed Country Park to see the live video film of the nest of one of the most rare birds of prey in Britain - the Honey Buzzard.
There's a honey buzzard as big as an eagle feasting on a huge bees' honeycomb just 50 metres away."
They include the black kite and honey buzzard - neither of which to the best of my knowledge are resident breeding birds in Britain.
The honey buzzard chick was being tracked by satellite as it migrated to Africa from Scotland when it took a wrong turn over Wales and headed out for 3,000 miles over the Atlantic.
Bird lovers have been following the tagged young honey buzzard from its Inverness home on the internet.
A surge of migrants arrived on Bardsey Island at the weekend, including more than 400 Sedge Warblers, 35 Spotted Flycatchers, and a flyover Honey Buzzard.
They included two Golden Eagle eggs, two Honey Buzzard eggs and four Egyptian Vulture eggs.