Pernis apivorus (Linnaeus, 1758) HZ HONBU 2310
Family: Accipitriformes > Accipitridae

Honey-buzzard, Graham Catley

One of the UK's rarest breeding birds, Honey-buzzard is a raptor with a predilection for the grubs of wasp and bees.

While undoubtedly a rare breeding bird, the Honey-buzzard's preference for secluded mature woodland and secretive behaviour – spending relatively little time in the air – means that it is probably under-recorded.

Honey-buzzard is a summer visitor, whose wintering grounds lie to the south of the Sahara.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Honey-buzzard

  • Breeding
  • Winter


Honey-buzzard identification is often difficult. The following article may help when identifying Honey-buzzard.

related video

Identifying Common Buzzard and Honey-buzzard

Buzzard is a familiar bird, but in summer and during migration time there is always the chance of finding a Honey-buzzard. Would you be confident in identifying it? Have a look at this guide to help you tell the difference.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Honey-buzzard, provided by xeno-canto contributors.

Begging call


Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

Browse training courses

Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.



There is little good evidence available regarding the drivers of the breeding population change in this species in the UK.


Honey-buzzard is a rare breeding species in the UK, with most records in southern England, plus Wales, north Yorkshire and Scotland.

Honey-buzzard breeding distribution 2008-11
Britain and Ireland Breeding Distribution 2008-2011.
More from the Atlas Mapstore.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2



Honey Buzzards are localised summer visitor, mostly arriving from May onwards, with a pulse of migrants in September in some years.

Weekly occurence of Honey-buzzard from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.

An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Honey-buzzard ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Honey-buzzard, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Clamhan-riabhach
Welsh: Boda Mêl
Catalan: aligot vesper europeu
Czech: vcelojed lesní
Danish: Hvepsevåge
Dutch: Wespendief
Estonian: herilaseviu
Finnish: mehiläishaukka
French: Bondrée apivore
German: Wespenbussard
Hungarian: darázsölyv
Icelandic: Býþjór
Irish: Clamhán Riabhach
Italian: Falco pecchiaiolo
Latvian: kikis
Lithuanian: vakarinis vapsvaedis
Norwegian: Vepsevåk
Polish: trzmielojad (zwyczajny)
Portuguese: bútio-vespeiro
Slovak: vcelár lesný
Slovenian: sršenar
Spanish: Abejero europeo
Swedish: bivråk
Folkname: Bee Hawk


Interpretation and scientific publications about Honey-buzzard from BTO scientists.


Causes of change

No further information is available.

Information about conservation actions

Numbers are stable or increasing, hence the Hooded Crow is not a species of concern and no conservation actions are currently required.

As is the case with Carrion Crow, Hooded Crows have been blamed for the declines of other species such as songbirds and waders, leading to calls to control numbers, and legal control of crows still occurs on shooting estates.

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