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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Honey Buzzard



Awaiting image for this species

(could be a long wait!)



Honey Buzzard

(Pern, Crested Honey Buzzard, European Honey Buzzard, European Honey-Buzzard, Western Honey Buzzard, Western Honey-Buzzard)

Pernis apivorus


  • Honey Buzzard
  • Pernis apivorus
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 51 pairs (summer) BTO
  • WI: Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC
  • Breeds: Fiercely territorial. Lays 2 eggs. Open woodland, forest edge. Europe, Asia
  • Winters: South Europe to South Africa
  • Diet: Mostly wasp larvae, but also those of bees & hornets. Other small insects . Spends much time walking and digging out wasp nests. Combs from hives have been found in the bird's own nest.
  • Similar to a Common Buzzard. Broad, rounded wings. Plumage colouring variable. Adults typically grey-brown above. Whitish below. Differences: Larger bird, longer-winged, longer-necked, smaller-headed. Soars with wings horizontal & tail held fanned (wings not held in shallow 'V') . Strongly & more regularly barred below. Does not have pale U-shape on breast. Male head blue-grey. Female head brown. Female slightly larger & darker than male. Usually flys quite low and perches in the middle height of trees. Cocks head like a parrot
  • Listen to a Honey Buzzard (RSPB site). Call is a wailing miaow!
  • Max recorded age 29yrs
  • Similar birds: Common Buzzard, Rough-legged Buzzard (rare), Golden Eagle


The Honey Buzzard is not a true Buzzard, it is more closely related to a Kite.

Honey refers to the the bird's diet, it does not actually eat honey, but the grubs of wasps, bees, and hornets - apivorus means "bee-eater".


Scottish Honey Buzzards on migration are being tracked by satellite by the Highland Foundation for Wildlife. You can watch the Scottish birds make their journey to Africa on the trust's web site.



Honey Buzzard records in the Western Isles

Very rare visitor (five or less records) TBC

The chart below shows how abundant the Honey Buzzard is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.















(Not on the Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)

September 23rd 2005
Honey Buzzard report from Tiumpanhead, Lewis (Grahame & Jackie)



Honey Buzzard Influxes

September 16th, 2008
An influx of migrating Honey Buzzards has been recorded across the UK over the last few days.
Over 300 reports have been made across many counties.

Co-incidentally a Rough-legged Buzzard report came today from Ness, Isle of Lewis.
(Previous "recent" reports of a Rough-legged Buzzard came from Achmore, Lewis in December 2007 (Jenni and John M) and Traigh Eachcamis, North Uist in January 2006)


September 16th, 2008
There is a great online article on the subject of the 2008 Honey Buzzard influx in the Telegraph online, including a few comments from Mark Golley who produces Bird Guides weekly review...
See the article about the influx of Honey Buzzards


There is an interesting animated map on the Surfbirds web site plotting the movement of the Honey Buzzards across the UK in the 2000 invasion which the 2008 influx is being compared to. (Great ID notes there too).




Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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