Sunday, 2 February 2014

164. Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Oriental Honey Buzzards (also known as Crested or Siberian Honey Buzzard) are rare migrants through parts of the Middle East such as Israel and Eilat - their breeding range is in Siberia and further east, and they spend their winters in tropical Asia. They look pretty similar to European Honey Buzzards but are slightly larger and broader-winged - they have an extra 'finger' (the longer 6th primary) on their wingtips compared to European Honey Buzzards, making them look a bit more eagle-like. Males also have a unique tail pattern - a thick black tip, and thick black band at the base, with a pale area in between. Interestingly they have a different coloured eye to the females too - it's dark rather than yellow. In adults and juveniles, plumage can again be very variable but they don't generally have dark carpal patches, which can help in separating from European Honey Buzzard. Their preferred breeding habitat is taiga woodland, near rivers, open areas or clearings.

Oriental Honey Buzzard, ©Sergey Pisarevskiy, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Oriental Honey Buzzard painting.
I tried various different things to try and depict the patterning of the feathers but not really sure that any of them were successful!

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