The honey buzzard is a large bird of prey that is similar to the buzzard. It has got broad wings and a long tail. The plumage is very variable across all ages; typical adults are greyish-brown on its upperparts and whitish underparts. The nest sites of British breeding birds are usually kept secret to protect them from egg collectors. Numbers are increasing, perhaps as a result of upland conifer forest maturing. It is a summer visitor to its breeding sites and spends the winter in Africa.
It’s impossible to be precise about the Honey Buzzard’s true historical status in the county. Since the Second World War most records in Gloucestershire have been of birds on passage. Since 1980 there have been 13 sightings of passing migrants in Gloucestershire, of which 10 were in autumn and 3 in spring. It’s been suggested that breeding took place in the Forest of Dean in 1980/81, and since then there has only been one record during the breeding season, in July 1989. The Honey Buzzard is the only species to have been recorded on the Gloucestershire rarities list without actually having been seen, when a satellite-tagged in North Wales was tracked on the Cotswold scarp.
Size, habitat and diet
Weight: M/F: 730g
World distribution: Breeds: Europe & c Asia. Winters: S Europe to S Africa
Habitat: Open wood and forest edge
Diet: Mostly bees and wasps (Hymenoptera), also other insects, small vertebrates
Honey Buzzard plundering a nest (The Nature Box)
Summer Buzzards – Common Buzzard and Honey Buzzard (BTO)