Saturday, 1 February 2014

163. European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)

European Honey Buzzards are another one with highly variable plumage. Although they're not closely related, they can look similar to Common Buzzards, especially in flight as they both soar in a similar fashion. Honey Buzzards have slightly longer wings though, and when soaring hold them kind of drooping down slightly when viewed head-on - Common Buzzards hold theirs more level, or sometimes slightly raised. Compared to the Buteo buzzards, Honey Buzzards also have slightly longer thinner necks and a smaller head, and a longer tail with rounded corners, not squared off as in buzzards. Adults have a distinctive grey head and yellow eye, seen in the photo below, which is alright if you can get a look at these features! Other than that, the plumage can vary in both adults and juveniles from very dark to rufous to very pale; they do all have dark carpal patches though, and a distinctive tail pattern with one thick dark band at the tip, and two narrower dark bands close to the base of the tail. Juveniles can look even more similar to Common Buzzards, the shape and flight is the best way to tell them apart. European Honey Buzzards breed widely across most of Europe, except for northern Scandinavia, parts of the Mediterranean and Spain, and most of the UK - they are rare breeders in a few parts of southern England. They migrate to spend their winters in Africa. They like habitat with mature forest interspersed with open areas like glades, meadows, clearings and marshes.

Honey Buzzard, ©Agustín Povedano, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Honey Buzzard painting.

No comments:

Post a Comment