Honey-buzzard in North Wales

Observations by NR




Number birds

Number sites






Total -- distinct sites





Area means roughly the land in a 40km radius of the named town or city.

These are very much opportunistic sightings in visits lasting up to one week at a time. It would be interesting to see more comprehensive figures if these are available.

Thought the site at Gwynedd was quite similar to Staward Gorge, Allen, with rocky outcrops, steep sides to the valley and much deciduous woodland with heather moors on the surrounding high ground. Recent atlas work has confirmed the presence of Honey-buzzard in north Wales. The falls are spectacular. The birds at upland site in Conwy preferred a more open mixed deciduous/coniferous/pasture habitat to a solidly coniferous one: shades of the situation in Northumberland where the birds prefer the mixed habitat of SW Northumberland to the wall-to-wall conifer planting of the Border Forests. Indeed the habitat at this site (216m asl) is not unlike that in the upper South Tyne. That this site is one of the wettest places in the UK indicates that high rainfall is not a deterrent. Obviously limited experience by NR in this area but birds can be found with reference to what habitat they'd choose in Northumberland.

Multimedia for Honey-buzzard in North Wales:

21 July 2011, adult female Honey-buzzard in territory at site in Gwynedd on 15:25, hanging in breeze (video reference 2011-860).

Video 1 shows expected plumage features for a female Honey-buzzard overhead, with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5. On the moorland edge she is first mobbed by 2 Crow, indeed this is how I picked her up – Honey-buzzard seem to be particularly disliked by Carrion Crow. The size difference is very obvious – she is massively bigger than either Crow. She then glides down into the valley. The derived stills show the small head, long neck, long narrow tail and extensive black on the wingtip.

Nick Rossiter 2011-2012

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