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Common name European honey buzzard
Scientific name Pernis apivorus
Type Forest birds
Status Migrator

Medium-sized raptor bird (about 59 cm or 23 in) with individual differences in plumage tones. It usually presents a brown back, light-coloured underparts with abundant brown cross-section barring. The most distinguishable feature is the head, of greyish hue, and the iris of the eye, of intense yellow colour. Long tail with transverse stripes, straight and narrow wings (wingspan approx 135 cm or 4.5 ft). In flight the head stands out.

Where it lives

Woodland species, linked mainly to deciduous forests (beech, oak, chestnut and birch groves) of the north of the peninsula. Also present in pastures, bushes or farmlands. And to a lesser extent in formations of conifers and quercus or in fluvial groves. During the migration, it takes advantage of the mid-mountain forest habitats found along its route.

How it lives

Summer species in the north of Spain, the European Honey Buzzard can be watched only during the migratory passage in the province. It makes one annual laying of 3 eggs in early May. Nest in trees. This raptor synchronizes its reproductive cycle and migratory passage with the period of greatest abundance of its food. It feeds on flying insects, especially wasps and bumblebees, but also consumes invertebrates, small vertebrates and even fruits.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent species especially during the postnuptial migratory passage. It is one of the first raptors to migrate towards the Strait. It can be watched throughout the province, especially at high points near the coast, such as Sierra Alpujata (Mijas) or Monte Mayor (Benahavís). Also in most stages of the Great Path, for example in stages 19, 27, 28, 29, 31 and 32.

Curious facts

The European Honey Buzzard receives its common and Latin name (Pernes, "hawk" in Greek, api-vorus, "bee-eater" in Latin) for its food based on bees, wasps and bumblebees. It is immune to the bites of these insects. Wasps whose nests have been attacked by the Honey Buzzard become more aggressive.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration