082 (European) Honey Buzzard
(Pernis apivorus )


52-59cm. The European Honey Buzzard is slightly larger and more long-winged than Common Buzzard, but at distance easily confused with it. At closer range, several finer points of distinction: neck slim and head held forward in flight in Cuckoo fashion; tail rather long, about as long as width of wing, sides slightly convex and corners rounded; head-on silhouette in glide with smoothly downcurved wings, unlike Common Buzzard in lacking obvious bend at carpal joints; soars on flattish wings; active flight with slower, more elastic wingbeats. Plumage variable, incl. dark, medium, pale and rufous morphs both as adults and as juveniles. Adults usually distinctive, but juveniles much more similar to Common Buzzard.


The European Honey Buzzard breeds in semi-natural deciduous forests situated primarily on warm, south-facing slopes at medium and high elevations, sometimes in lowlands. The population has slightly increasing recent years. Migrant. Arrives between late April and early May in spring and leaves Hungary as early as September in autumn. A low number of individuals can still be observed in October.

082 (European) Honey Buzzard pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008