The European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus) is a medium-sized bird of prey, an accipiter, and a raptor. It is also called the Pern.
The European Honey Buzzard is eagle-like with a small head, flat wings, and a long tail with a few dark bars. Its feathers are honey-brown. The male has a blue-grey head, and the female has a brown head. The female is slightly darker than the male. Both the male and the female have yellowish to light-orange eyes, and a grey beak with a yellow cere.
It grows to 52-60 centimetres (20-24 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 135-150 centimetres (53-59 inches).
The European Honey Buzzard is native to Europe and western Asia. It migrates in winter to tropical African countries. It is seen in a wide range of habitats, although it prefers woodlands and plantations.
It feeds on insects, reptiles, small birds, and small mammals, such as mice and rats. It particularly likes wasps and hornets, avoiding their stinger. Some scientists think that the European Honey Buzzard has a chemical in its feathers that protects it from wasp attacks.
The European Honey Buzzard mates for life. Its nest is large and built on a tree branch. The nest is up to one metre (39 inches) wide. It is made of sticks and is often re-used each year.
The female lays two eggs. Only the female sits on the eggs. They hatch after about 40 days. Chicks will get their flight feathers after about 56–60 days; then they can fly.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM