Honey-buzzard in Britain

Pictures from Study Area, SW Northumberland 2009-2012

Pernis apivorus, Honey Buzzard

Nick Rossiter (nick.rossiter1 at btinternet.com)

News 2023

20/04/23 Black Kite arrival: 1st seen, an adult at Prudhoe.

30/04/23: Honey-buzzard arrival: 1st seen, a pair at Ordley in active display.

23/06/23: Honey-buzzard numbers maintained with successful spring survey in the settled weather: display period 30/4-16/6: 27 sites occupied, 38 adults seen - 24 male, 14 female.

23/06/23: Osprey site occupied on the Tyne near Hexham -- first breeding on a river system in Northumberland in recent times.

24/06/23: Black Kite numbers maintained: display period 20/4-31/5: 7 sites occupied; 2 with pairs seen: total 9 adults seen.

30/12/23: Hobby is showing some resilience at lower population levels than previously with 6 sites occupied in 2023 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

01/01/24: Goshawk shows poor productivity for second year running, persecution suspected (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

07/01/24: Osprey raised one young from a site on the River Tyne (Population of the Osprey in SW Northumberland).

13/01/24: Black Kite fantastic colonisation continues: 12 sites occupied, 17 adults seen, 16+ juveniles fledged (Population of the Black Kite in Northumberland).

21/01/24: Red Kite perplexing results for 2023, 43 sites occupied, just 11 broods with 18+ juveniles fledged (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

04/02/24: Honey-buzzard breeding numbers maintained in core area; overall 29 sites found occupied with 43 adult seen; productivity unknown as NR absent in Georgia but 5+ juveniles known to be fledged by mid-August (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).


The main aim is to write a book on Honey-buzzard, using my experience in British Isles, continental Europe and Africa, dating from 1993

Field work in 2022 in Northumberland will complement this task, filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. Further lengthy trips in mind abroad are Israel/Tarifa/Gibraltar in September and Kenya Highlands and coast in due course in winter. Collecting habitat data at Honey-buzzard breeding sites in Northumberland is a high current priority.

Broad headings for book are: Motivation, Historical Records, Rediscovery in Britain, Migration Patterns, Arrival and Display, Breeding Activity, Habitat, Dispersal, Wintering Grounds, Four Identification Models, Value of Field Experience, Further Studies, Bibliography


Quick Links (right-click on image to view in new tab)

Pictures 4003 02/05/2014

Pictures 4007 14/05/2014

Pictures 4040 06/06/2014

Pictures 9006 09/05/2019, 9017 21/05/2019




Pictures 4030 03/06/2014

Pictures 4060 05/09/2014

Pictures 9021 22/05/2019, 9001 28/04/2019

Pictures 10005 02/05/2020

Video of Honey-buzzard

Hexhamshire, Northumberland, 8090 09/07/2018 The birds were vociferous at the start with both male and female up in the air over the nest, giving excited anxiety and anger calls. Took 3 clips of 3-5 minutes each, so very productive. Clip 1 shows the male over the nest at 17:24 with continual anxiety calls and derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 2 shows the male over the nest at 17:31 keeping quiet after start of clip with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. Clip 3 shows the male and female over the nest at 17:43 with much anger and anxiety calling, with derived snapshots here 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13.

Hexhamshire, Northumberland, 857 13/07/2011 in flight and perched with stills 1  2  3  4  5.

Hexhamshire, Northumberland, 9021 22/05/2019 dispute between 2 male with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19.

Hexhamshire, Northumberland, 640 18/06/2010, anger, anxiety, whimpering calls, Ordley, 18 June 2010, two high-definition mp4 clips part 1  part 2. One of the birds above the canopy on part 2 at 4:45-4:55 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6.

Ireland, Rathmacknee, Co Wexford, 12 Nov 2015, juvenile feed in field Ref: 5900/1112, long video clip and stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15. Id points are the horizontal stance with attenuated appearance including the long tail projecting beyond the primary tips, the small head with very noticeable pale yellow cere and the coarse barring on the tail (4 broad bars, including subterminal, slides 3,4) and remiges (4 broad bars, slides 6, 8, 9) and extensive black on primary tips.

Devon, Aylesbeare Common, 15 June 2014, male up in hanging mode at Aylesbeare Common, in fine weather. Here's clip with stills (4100) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11.

Study Area 2022

The pattern of fieldwork will continue this year with a concentration on filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. No nest site visits will be done this year. Habitat recording in a 2 x 2km square around the nest is actively underway, starting in the winter with 19 sites assessed by 1 April: all 6 in Hexhamshire, all 10 in the Allen, 2 in Tyne Valley W and 1 in Tyne Valley E. The Black Kite colonisation will be actively monitored. The book is under way with habitat data a vital part of the scientific assessment.

Intensive Site Visits: none this year











Breeding: Running Totals to 15/09 (all data compiled)

Total Sites

Male

Female

Total Adult

Sites Occupied Fledging

Total Juvenile

23

19

14

33

15

23+ (8x2, 5x1+, 2>0)



Display period: 24/4- 15/6 20 site (15 male, 11 female: 26 total)

Sitting/Rearing period: 25/6-16/8 7 site (7 male, 2 female: 9 total)

Fledging period: 28/8-15/9 15 site (4 male, 4 female, 21+ juvenile seen, 2+ juvenile inferred: 31 total)

Gangs of juveniles: none



Study Area 2023

The pattern of fieldwork will continue this year with a concentration on filling in gaps and reinforcing findings. No nest site visits will be done this year. Habitat recording in a 2 x 2km square around the nest is actively underway, starting in winter 2022 with 35 sites assessed by 15 April 2023: all 6 in Hexhamshire, all 10 in the Allen, all 8 in Tyne Valley W, all 8 in Tyne Valley E, 3 in upper South Tyne. The Black Kite colonisation will be actively monitored. The book is under way with habitat data a vital part of the scientific assessment.

Intensive Site Visits: none this year











Breeding: Running Totals to 15/9 (all data compiled)

Total Sites

Male

Female

Total Adult

Sites Occupied Fledging

Total Juvenile

29

27

16

43

5

5+ (2x1+, 3>0)



Display period: 30/4-16/6 28 site (24 male, 14 female: 38 total)

Sitting/Rearing period: 17/6-19/8 5 site (5 male, 2 female)

Fledging period: 20/8-15/9 5 site (2 male, 2 female, 2+ juvenile, 3+ juvenile inferred)

Gangs of juveniles:



Study Area Report 2012 with Appendix containing hyperlinked field observations

Honey-buzzard Movement in Britain in Autumn 2000

Honey-buzzard Movement in Britain in Autumn 2008

Season 2013 – Summary

Season 2014 – Summary

Season 2015 – Summary

Season 2016 – Summary

Season 2017 – Summary

Season 2018 – Summary

Season 2019– Summary

Season 2020– Summary

Season 2021– Summary

News 2022

Honey-buzzard Migrants are British Born and Bred

Review of Record Committee's Review of Honey-buzzard Records in Northumberland 2003-2005 in six parts Review 1-6

Misidentification of Juvenile Honey-buzzard

National Honey-buzzard Survey 2020-2021:

Survey work NR 2020 S/SE study area Report 2020

Survey work NR 2021 SW study area Report 2021

Talks to Hexham Rotary Club on Climate:

The Many Shades of Green (February 2020) pdf

Lies, Damned Lies and Modelling (March 2023) pdf



Medley of Calls of Honey-buzzard in Northumberland

Listen to a great variety of Calls and see their spectrograms.

Clip 640 with anger, anxiety, whimpering calls, Ordley, 18 June 2010, two high-definition mp4 clips part 1  part 2. One of the birds above the canopy on part 2 at 4:45-4:55 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6.

Clip 4007: the mating (wailing) call of the Honey-buzzard, Staward, Allen, 14 May 2014, audio 1.

Clip 4050: single Honey-buzzard call followed immediately by Hobby alarm calls, March Burn, 4 July 2014, video 1.

Clip 4055: sharp Honey-buzzard alarm calls 1 as entered site; had the same calls 3 on exit as birds came back, East Allen, 15 July 2014.

Clips 4059: all presumed from female, alarm, almost whimpering at time 1 (14:59, calls 26-38s 71-83s 150-159s, also faint Common Buzzard juvenile hunger cries 56s), anger+alarm 2 (14:25, calls 12s 25s-272s), anger+alarm 3 (14:31, calls throughout the 97s), anger+alarm 4 (14:34, calls throughout the 14s). Kellas, Derwent, 3 September 2014.

Play many more Videos

Clip 1201 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8, juvenile mobbed by 3 Hooded Crow, The Raven, Co Wexford, 7 Nov 2013

Clip 4003 (Farnley, Northumberland, 2 May 2014, pair in territory): 2 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18, showing male (damaged inner primary on right wing, missing inner primary on left wing) in extensive gliding around in territory, with effortless rearing up and strength in the air, the female does some mutual circling near the end (more on Videos page).

Clip 4007 (Staward S, Northumberland, 14 May 2014, male overhead): 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 and stills taken during videoing 10  11  12  13  14  15. Think he's been back a while and is a little lovesick for his mate, of whom no sign. Had some interesting calls as he appeared overhead: mating call of the Honey-buzzard (really!!) with real jungle overtones, but he's not apparently got a mate yet, wonder if it came from pair at Staward N, if so means both birds back here now. Here's the extracted audio clip 1: the mating (wailing) call of the Honey-buzzard.

Clip 4040 (Wylam, Northumberland, 6 June 2014, male overhead): 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 and stills taken during the videoing 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13.

Clip 4060 (Eals, Northumberland, 5 September 2014) 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15, showing the pair in full display and recording the calls of the Jay and juvenile Honey-buzzard, and 2nd clip 2 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15 showing the male up on his own.

See a lot more Stills



Study Area 2022: Migrants

Spring: Totals

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total

0

2

N/A

2

1 female moving SW over Stocksfield E, tending to turn W (Tyne Valley W) 5/5; group of 3 birds (1 male, 2 female) at Swallowship (Devil’s Water) 24/5, extra female thought to be a migrant.







Autumn: Totals

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total

0

4

3

7

2 female moving E out of sites at Shilford and Eltringham 9/9 (Tyne Valley W); a female soaring high and going S out of March Burn 11/9 (Tyne Valley W); a female soaring to moderate height and gliding E at Hexham on 13/9 (Tyne Valley W); a juvenile rapidly floating around at Ordley on 7/10 (Devil’s Water); 2 juveniles up over Eltringham and Bywell on 8/10, both resting (Tyne Valley W).

Study Area 2023: Migrants

Spring: Totals

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total

0

0

N/A

0









Autumn: Totals

Male

Female

Juvenile

Total

0

0

1

1

A juvenile up over the nest site at Ordley from 13:31-13:33 climbing fairly high, probably a Scottish bird, on 1/10 (Devil's Water).

Out of Study Area 2022

Kolimvarion, Crete: (4/4-18/4): a female and male coming off the sea from E on 17/4 at 12:33 and 12:43 respectively and flying towards southern base of the Rodopou Peninsula, presumably to feed in the more fertile land there, before continuing to N. The female Honey-buzzard (or another) was indeed rediscovered later at 15:32 in Koumouli at the base of the Rodopou Peninsula floating over the wooded hillside but no sign of the male. Also earlier a male N at Agia Triada at 15:56 on 9/4.

Budapest, Hungary: (19/6-24/6): none.

Marciac, France: (3/7-18/7): noted at 3 localities,4 birds: 3 male, 1 female. Birds fairly active presumed foraging for food for medium- to large-sized young. 1) at Juillac SW/Bourret at 136-226m with 4/7 a female floating over the area; 5/7 a female coming out of a small copse to S of villa and moving back E at low altitude; 8/7 another male high up over the presumed site to S; 9/7 picking up at Bourret a female in territory over a wood, trying to keep kite away from its nesting area, up over the E end of wood; 9/7 The heat kept most birds low in the afternoon but first up at 17:45 as it cooled down a bit was a female circling for some time over the small woods on the ridge;; 11/7 a male flying briefly along ridge; 15/7 a female up over site, hanging over area before drifting off SW. 2) at Juillac NE/Marciac NW 136-226m with 5/7 a male up to NE of the Villa over the wood at 18:08 (habitat) by a river (known breeding site); 8/7 a male high over the site to NE drifting S towards Juillac. 3) at Auriébat at 144-262m, 9/7 much further to SW had a male Honey-buzzard in contention with a Black Kite adult.

Liverpool: (9/8-12/8): none

Chamonix, France: (19/8-27/8): noted at 2 localities: 1) at Argentière at 1252m with adult alarm call on 21/8 as walked towards mature spruce plantation and on 22/8 with a family group of 3 in the air above the tree line close together over the village; 2) at Les Gaillands at 1020m on 23/8 where an adult female left to forage from a dense spruce plantation, in contention with an adult Common Buzzard.

London, Leeds: (24/9-29/9): none.

Totnes, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Devon: 20/10-27/10: none.

Out of Study Area 2023

Dumfries (18/7-21/7): none.

Munich, Germany, via Amsterdam (25/7-31/7): none.

Liverpool (7/8-11/8): none.

Georgia (23/8-13/9): Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, many thousands, detailed report to follow.

Devon (18/9-23/9): 22/9 Challaborough, a Honey-buzzard juvenile flying W at 11:09 using a large stoop followed by rearing up to progress.

North Yorkshire (28/9): Shipton by Beningbrough, a juvenile flying S at low altitude in flap-flap-glide motion.

Kenya (10/12-28/12): Nairobi, Masai Mara, Mombasa, provisionally none but extensive footage awaits analysis.





Some Recent changes:



17th January 2022: Closed Notice Board 2021, opened Notice Board 2022.

24th April 2022: Reorganised home page so that personal efforts in the National Honey-buzzard Survey are preserved (Report 2020, Report 2021)

13th June 2022: Added Trip Report for Kenya visit in January 2021 (Kenya 2021)

3rd October 2022: Added Trip Report for Crete visit in April 2022 (Crete 2022)

16th October 2022: Added Trip Report for Chamonix, France, visit in August 2022 (Chamonix 2022)

14th November 2022: Updated Black Kite page with breeding and migration data for SW Northumberland in 2022: rapid colonisation in progress (Population of the Black Kite in Northumberland)

17th November 2022: Updated Hobby page with disappointing results for SW Northumberland in 2022 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

22nd November 2022: Updated Goshawk page, a perplexing season, for SW Northumberland in 2022 (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

18th December 2022: Updated Red Kite page with disappointing productivity results for SW Northumberland in 2022 (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

15th January 2023: Updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding and migration data, core area maintained with usual high productivity, conspicuous migration in mid-September, for SW Northumberland in 2022 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

11th February 2023: Added Trip Report for Marciac, France, visit in July 2022 (Marciac 2022).

22nd February 2023: Closed Notice Board 2022, opened Notice Board 2023.

22nd March 2023: Added Talks to Hexham Rotary Club on Climate: The Many Shades of Green (February 2020) pdf; Lies, Damned Lies and Modelling (March 2023) pdf.

4th April 2023: Added Trip Report for Tarifa, Spain, visit in September 2021 (Tarifa 2021).

30th December 2023: Updated Hobby page with resilient results for SW Northumberland in 2023 (Population of the Hobby in SW Northumberland).

1st January 2024: Updated Goshawk page, poor productivity for second year running, for SW Northumberland in 2023 (Population of the Goshawk in SW Northumberland).

7th January 2024: Added Osprey page, first breeding on a river system in SW Northumberland, in 2023 (Population of the Osprey in SW Northumberland).

7th January 2024: Updated Red Kite page with historical introduction back to earliest records (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

13th January 2024: Updated Black Kite page with breeding data for SW Northumberland in 2023: fantastic colonisation continues (Population of the Black Kite in Northumberland)

21st January 2024: Updated Red Kite page with perplexing results for 2023 (Population of the Red Kite in SW Northumberland).

4th February 2024: Updated Honey-buzzard page with breeding data, for SW Northumberland in 2023: core area maintained numbers-wise with productivity unknown due to observer absence (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

7th February 2024: Updated Honey-buzzard page with migration data, for SW Northumberland in 2023 (Population of the Honey-buzzard in SW Northumberland).

Earlier modifications: Updates

Original papers with additional pointers:

Honey-buzzard Movement in Britain in Autumn 2000

Additional Information on this Honey-buzzard movement from: Britain/North Sea   Scandinavia   Continental Europe   Migration Strategy   Ringing Data for Raptors   Replies to Comments on UKBN   Views on the 2000 Movement in 2002-03

Honey-buzzard Movement in Britain in Autumn 2008

Other Aspects of Honey-buzzard:

Trends in Honey-buzzard Movements Analysis  Charts  by Month   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007   2006    2005   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999   1998   1996

Identification of Honey-buzzard   Videos with derived stills and calls    Calls  Jizz   Plumage   Bare parts   Moult   Tail-wing ratio    Wing formula    Earlier material

Summary of Calls of Honey-buzzard    Medley of Calls from Northumberland

Food Remains on Ground

The Honey-buzzard in Northumberland Population   Techniques  Habitat   Current Notice Board    Report 2011   Report 2012 with Appendix containing hyperlinked field observations   Distribution by month of records for Honey-buzzard 2013 with comparison with Common Buzzard    Colour-phases in Juveniles

Presentations Tynemouth Photographic Society Nov 2010 odp  ppt

Populations Elsewhere of Honey-buzzard Scotland   Ireland   Hampshire   Devon   Cornwall   Isle of Wight  Sussex   Buckinghamshire  Greater London Cumbria/north Lancashire/Yorkshire Dales  Notts  North Wales  Africa

Other Raptors in Northumberland Hobby   Goshawk  Red Kite  Black Kite  Osprey   Annual Totals all Raptors

All raptors: Historical

References to Honey-buzzard Information

(c) Copyright Nick Rossiter 2000-2024

Further Pages: Yellow-legged Gulls  African Gulls  African Raptors  Ethiopian Raptors  Kenya 2021  Tarifa 2021  Indian Raptors  Crete Raptors 2008  Crete 2022  Italy Raptors  Chamonix 2022   Marciac 2022  Home Page on BT

CEIS, Northumbria University: Former Reader  Visiting Research Fellow