Videos of Honey-buzzard with Derived Stills and Calls

All videos up to and including 2009 are in compressed wmv format suitable for broadband transmission. Those for 2010 and later will also be available in a reduced size (480x360) mpeg format. The ideal would be to look at them in the original miniDV tape format (on videos taken from 2004-2007) or in the original HD mpeg format (on videos taken from 2008) on a digital TV but I'm afraid the files would be too big for the current internet.

Northumberland, England 2014

video 2014-4003

Clip 4003 (Farnley, Northumberland, 2 May 2014, pair in territory): 1 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6, showing female (very little damage to wings) in active hunting, rather like a (Common) Kestrel with hanging in air, measured descent and pounce on some prey on the ground; 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; 3 with derived stills 1  2  3  4, showing the female in active hunting as in clip 1; 4 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14, showing the female flushed from a hedgerow, gaining height and being mobbed by a Hobby; 5  6, showing the male in territorial gliding mode. Some stills were taken during video recording: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12, 1st 9 show the male, no.10 shows the trees on top of the hill, last 2 the female.

Northumberland, England 2011

video 2011-857

13 July 2011, female Honey-buzzard perched on tree in territory in Hexhamshire; female Honey-buzzard landing in a tree in territory in Hexhamshire; female flying around site anxiously giving some anger calls in contention with Common Buzzard; female flying low over nest; male and female flying over site; Common Buzzard in flight over site with anger calls.


Site visit from 14:40-17:00 to start of Devil's Water, close to Tyne Valley. This was another Common Buzzard/Honey-buzzard dual act with the former having 2 young just fledged and the latter with a new nest in Scots Pine, as last year with splendid views over the Devil's Water.


Video 1 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) shows the perched bird with derived stills 1  2  3  4. The majority of the calls are from an angry Common Buzzard but the Honey-buzzard female calls at 1 second and 28 seconds with long anxiety call. Her calls are more of a whistle than those of the Common Buzzard. In particular on perched bird note long thin tail, stretching far beyond wing tips, attenuated rear end due to both wings and tail being long, long neck, small head and fine bill. On the bird in flight the first of these properties translate into both wings and tail long but tail particularly long as equal in length to wing-width and with narrow base. The front-end properties are variable in flight as the neck can be retracted and the bill not clearly assessable but the small head is a constant feature. In perched Common Buzzard the rear end is not as attenuated as the wings and tail are both shorter and the tail and wingtips are of similar length in adults; the neck appears thicker and the head is larger.

Video 2 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) shows the perched bird landing in the tree, with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21. Most calls are Common Buzzard anger calls but at 3 seconds there is an anger call from the female Honey-buzzard as she takes off. At 11-12 seconds the Common Buzzard flies close above me as captured in stills below. From 18-21 seconds the female is captured with wings open as she lands in the top of the larch tree. The landing shows off the wing tip pattern as in slide 15 where 3 broad bars are visible across the inner primaries. Slide 15c, with brightness and contrast increased, shows the barring more clearly. Slides 1-2 show the female from the side in flight as she passes close-by with rounded wingtip (long P10) and all dark bill; 3-17 show her landing with wings open; 18 shows her perched. The very different silhouette from Common Buzzard is shown throughout with small head, long neck and long tail. Indeed at rest there is almost a harrier feel.

Video 3 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) shows the female, at close range, circling, flapping, gaining height, flying straight ahead, wheeling and gliding. Calls in distance are Common Buzzard. Derived stills include 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. Still 1 shows 2-3 broad bars across the inner primaries.

Video 4 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) shows quite a frequent display when I'm close to the nest of the male flying high above the site and the female much lower. Derived stills include 1  2  3  4.

For comparison here's 2 derived stills 1  2 from video 2 above for adult Common Buzzard. This bird shows 4-5 thin bars across the remiges.

The nest has moved about 10m to another Scots Pine tree and there was much splash and a few feathers and prey remains below the nest. Here's 3 videos 1  2  3 of the nest from different angles with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9.

video 2011-875

21 August 2011, recently-fledged juvenile Honey-buzzard perched on tree in site in Hexhamshire; juvenile anger calls; nest in Norway Spruce with splash; one covert feather.


Site visit from 16:55-19:10 to locality on side of Devil's Water.

Video 1 (in wmv, in reduced format, large format here) of the perched juvenile Honey-buzzard gives the circumstances as well as showing the bird; I was half-way across the burn when the young bird started calling; the stones were very slippery and the burn a little higher than I like but realised that if I went to the bank the bird would fly off; so balanced in the middle, got the camcorder out and picked up the bird; sure enough when I did make the bank the bird had flown off. A still taken through the camcorder is shown here (slightly darkened) with original here. Here are some stills derived from the clip 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9. Perhaps could say why this is 100% a juvenile Honey-buzzard and 0% anything else: dark eye eliminates adult Goshawk; barred breast and dark eye eliminate juvenile Goshawk; broad tail bars eliminate Common Buzzard; pale bill and dark eye eliminate adult Honey-buzzard; also note pale bill in main snap above. So there you go – pretty quickly for some phoney experts on Honey-buzzard!! The end of this clip contains some juvenile anger calls, at medium range.

Video 2 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) contains much louder juvenile anger calls, given as I was leaving the site, again crossing the burn. The young bird was acting a bit like a sentry.

Video 2011-846

28 June 2011, pair of adults in territory; female in flight; alarm calls by both birds; nest in Norway Spruce with splash; white body feathers.

Site visit from 13:45-15:50 to locality on side of March Burn.

Video 1 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) shows female calling angrily and then moving along outside of wood to S at 14:20, with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; structural features of small head and long tail are shown on many of the stills; still 3 shows 3 broad bars across outer primaries and limited black on wingtip. She was flushed from N side initially moving to nest site.

Video 2 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version available soon) was recorded on exit from site at 15:30, female calling again from nest site angrily with male (slightly shriller) calling c100m further S; 2 birds are on the clip – bird 1 (presumed female as same sound as on 1st clip) calling angrily for 26 seconds, then slightly shriller male joins in a duet for c7 seconds before male carries on, on his own.


Nest is in Norway Spruce, high up and concealed well, with stills 1  2  3  4; two stills 1  2 of white body feathers 62mm long (still 1), 41mm and 32mm (both still 2) respectively; much splash around. The upper part of the wood has been tidied up with the glades being cleared as shown here but the more critical lower part remains a jungle.

Northumberland, England 2010

video 2010-663

17 July 2010, female Honey-buzzard flushed at close-range in territory in Hexhamshire; male Honey-buzzard gliding N over the site; some contention with Common Buzzard who had recently fledged young in area.


Site visit from 15:00-17:20 to start of Devil's Water, close to Tyne Valley. This was another Common Buzzard/Honey-buzzard dual act with the former having 2 young just fledged and the latter with a new nest in Scots Pine, as last year with splendid views over the Devil's Water.

Video 1 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version) with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12. The calls at the very start are Common Buzzard but the loud ones soon after are Honey-buzzard female anger calls, the first one followed by an omg from yours truly! The stills show 3 broad wing bars across the remiges, grey bill, extensive dark area on wingtip and brown head, with structural features of long tail and small head. Stills 2-4 perhaps show off the structural features best. Stills 7-8 show the topside of the bird with its brownish-purple sheen. The bird is not in obvious moult but there is a hint of a missing inner primary on its left wing (still 11, for instance). Video 2 (mpeg) shows the male Honey-buzzard gliding N over the site when I was on the walk out. He's taken a while to get back; leave the combat to the females! Jizz is very kite-like.

For comparison here's a clip (mpeg) for an adult Common Buzzard, in the same visit, showing it flying over low with derived stills 1  2  3. This bird shows 5-6 thin bars across the remiges and the calls are very strident.

video 2010-640

18 June 2010: pair of Honey-buzzard adults at nest site in Hexhamshire giving remarkable range of calls, including a whimpering call (new to me) and brief glimpse of one bird above the canopy.

The video was broken up into six clips: 1  2  3  4  5  6 (all wmv, corresponding mpeg (300x225) 1  2  3  4  5  6). The main interest in these clips is in the calls so they've been reduced in size to about 10 MB each to ease downloads. The clips contain the following calls: 1 – whimper wail anxiety (wail at 37 seconds is very characteristic nest call), 2 – anxiety whimper, 3 – anxiety whimper anger, 4 – anger, 5 – anger whimper rally, 6 – anger rally. The birds start off with melancholy restraint, gradually becoming wilder and rather losing their cool near the end. At this point I left to let the birds get back onto their nest, which is now enormous 1  2  3. I was trying to get a photo of the birds as they crossed a small gap in the canopy but they're wary and generally declined; did however capture one of the birds above the canopy on clip 5 with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6.

Calls will be analysed on the Calls page.

video 2010-644

26 June 2010: female Honey-buzzard in Hexhamshire in contention with Common Buzzard.

The female Honey-buzzard provided some close ups as she was very anxious about my presence. Video 1 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version) comprises numerous fly-overs at low level with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5. She also got high up over the nest for a bit of floating as shown in video 2 (mpeg) with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11. They're much easier to identify by jizz at height than close-up on plumage! The female has a gap on her left wing between P6 and P7: no feathers are missing but either the end of a feather is damaged or the feathers are lying unevenly. She has 2-3 broad bands across the remiges: again not bad for Honey-buzzard!

Nearby a Common Buzzard was nesting and got similar recordings for this bird. Video 1 (mpeg) at low-level, with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6, shows P4 is missing on left wing and there is a hint of a tail feather missing. There is also a characteristic series of 5-6 narrow bands across the remiges. At high level video 2 (mpeg), with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13, shows the obvious shorter tail of Common Buzzard and its less graceful flight. I think you can see the difficulties in identification if you're relying solely on plumage and are simply viewing the birds through binoculars and telescopes. Video 3 (mpeg) shows the Common Buzzard nest on 26/6 with derived stills of a marching juvenile (a young bird not yet flying but which is on the branches outside the nest) 1  2  3  4  5  6. Plucking posts 1  2 were found nearby on roots of fallen trees, containing much rabbit fur. A still was also taken of the nest showing the down and splash around it: Common Buzzard are less hygienic than Honey-buzzard! By the visit on 14/8 the plucking posts still showed some remains 1  2 but the nest was looking a little neglected with few signs of splash and down. At this stage the Common Buzzard will have been fledged around 4 weeks while the Honey-buzzard still have 7-14 days to go typically giving a 5-6 week difference in the timing of fledging.

video 2010-645

27 June 2010, female Honey-buzzard mobbing me in Tyne Valley E. Whole visit time was from 12:00-15:00 and the Honey-buzzard was the only raptor seen.

Well there I was walking nicely through this wood near Prudhoe in steamy weather at 12:30 when mobbed by this lady Honey-buzzard without any pretext on my part. Peter Rock, who's studied nesting Lesser Black-backed Gull in Bristol, reckons that the birds can sense when your interest is out of the ordinary and respond accordingly. Peter used to be mobbed in Bristol on the streets by the gulls as soon as he got in sight of a colony! Hyons Wood is rich habitat with 7 species of butterfly today: Small White, Meadow Brown, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Wall, Painted Lady and Large Skipper. It's also a good area for some species scarce further west such as Lesser Whitethroat (one song-flighting) and Willow Tit (anxiety behaviour). Anyway star of day was this female Honey-buzzard shown in video 1 with anger calls and close-up views of jizz and plumage. Derived stills include 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15. Still 5 is the most interesting in some respects as it shows 2-3 bars evenly spaced across the secondaries on the bird's left wing and a thick bar across the outer primaries, not bad for female Honey-buzzard! She's missing P2 and a secondary on her left wing but this looks like damage rather than moult. Stills 1,3,6,8-11 show a similar view to 5. Stills 2 and 4 show the silhouette in diving with small pointed head, long narrow tail and wing tips (primaries) swept right back parallel to the body and at right-angles to the forearm and with carpal pushed forward. Still 7 shows the bird gliding. Stills 12-15 show the bird when quite close with 2-3 bars across the secondaries.

video 2010-617

28 May 2010, male in power display in Derwent area with climb, slow glide, steep descent in power glide, and final descent including some hovering.

Video 1 (in wmv, reduced mpeg version) from Minsteracres on 28/5 shows the initial climb: the power flight of flap-flap-glide at low altitude is very impressive and popular with Honey-buzzard. This sort of flight is perhaps more often associated with Goshawk. The soar is very rapid: Honey-buzzard are very dynamic fliers. Video 2 (mpeg), with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7, shows the male Honey-buzzard gliding slowly across the sky and soaring a little (in-between his climb and dive). Stills 2 and 7 show a broad band across the primaries on his left wing.

Video 3 (mpeg) shows the very exciting plunging male Honey-buzzard with derived stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8. The structural properties of Honey-buzzard are very evident in dives and you can also see the plumage better as the bird turns on its side; still 1 shows at least 2 tail bars and stills 7-8 show the bird as he prepares to dive. The bird is not in moult but does have extensive damage to the middle primaries on its right wing.

Video 4 (mpeg) shows the male Honey-buzzard in his final descent and within that a bit of hovering as shown also in video 5 (mpeg). Of course Honey-buzzard do not hover that often but to deny the birds an aerial manoeuvre as some field guides do is over-draconian!

video 2010-684a   2010-684b  2010-684c  2010-684d  2010-684e   2010-684f  2010-684g  2010-684h

Allen, 17 August 2010, 15:50-19:00 (birds 16:20-18:35).

Derived stills for female: 684a 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9, 684b 1, 684d 1  2  3  4  5  6; 684e 1  2  3  4  5  6  7; 684f 1  2  3  4  5; 684g 1  2  3  4  5  6; brightened versions 684a 1   2 showing barring.

Derived stills for weaker juvenile: 684b 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10.

Derived stills for stronger juvenile: 684c 1  2  3; 684e 1  2  3  4; 684g 1.

Derived stills for display at high altitude with 2 males and a female: 684h 1  2  3.

Video 684a shows the female coming low-down and mobbing me in anxiety over her just-fledged brood; 684b shows the low-flying (weaker) juvenile, initially with female; 684c shows briefly the stronger-flying juvenile flushed from near the river; 684d shows the female in low-level soar; 684e shows the female patrolling over an area where the stronger juvenile has retreated, locating the juvenile and having a brief flight with it; 684f shows the female flying aggressively into site and then floating over it; 684g shows the stronger juvenile floating over the site with female flying across close-by; 684h shows 2 males and a female in spirited high-level display at end of breeding season.

Female: the inner primaries show the bars most clearly because they are translucent allowing light in from the top. If the tail is closed no light will enter from the top. Reflected light from the ground is very low in dense woodland so under-lighting is extremely poor. The female makes 3 long flight calls on 684a at about 13, 25 and 53 seconds and is first in view in video 684b. In 684f she gives long flight calls at 45, 68, 92, 118 and 122 seconds.

Weaker juvenile: when they make their maiden flights and this one may well have only started today, they remind me of people learning to swim: they stick their wings straight out but daren't try any serious manoeuvres in case they lose their balance! This one is still growing feathers with on left wing P7/P8 not evident yet, on right wing P8 and P5 sticking out from very truncated primaries and on tail some unevenness. Such is the rush to get flight experience before migration. The tail is long though, equal to the wing-width, and the head is small on a long neck. Juveniles cannot be sexed. The female was very protective of this bird.

Stronger juvenile: apparently full-winged but still poor flier as in 684e where the female has trouble keeping it in the air.

To follow: analysis of calls.

video 2010-646a   2010-646b  2010-646c  2010-646d  2010-684e   2010-684f  2010-684g  2010-684h

Tyne Valley, 30 June 2010, 13:20-16:30 (birds 16:20-18:35).

Derived stills for female: 646a 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24;

Derived stills for male: 646b-d 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9;

Derived stills for display at high altitude with 2 males and a female: 684h 1  2  3.

Video 646a shows the female coming low-down near the nest and mobbing me with a number of anxiety calls; 646b-d show the male in active display after I'd left the site; low-flying (weaker) juvenile, initially with female; 684c shows briefly the stronger-flying juvenile flushed from near the river; 684d shows the female in low-level soar; 684e shows the female patrolling over an area where the stronger juvenile has retreated, locating the juvenile and having a brief flight with it; 684f shows the female flying aggressively into site and then floating over it; 684g shows the stronger juvenile floating over the site with female flying across close-by; 684h shows 2 males and a female in spirited high-level display at end of breeding season.

Female: in clip 646a stills 1-3 show a close-up of her face with grey bill and cere; Common Buzzard have a prominent yellow cere (fleshy base of bill). Stills 4-10 show 2-3 broad bars across the remiges. Stills 11-15 show typical Honey-buzzard flight jizz. But as ever note the tail length – think long tail >= 95% of wing width is almost guaranteed way of separating the adults of the species with Common Buzzard mainly in range 65-80%. Perhaps for safety just one other Honey-buzzard feature required for safe identification, such as small head, long neck or shape of tail. But statement on tail length would ideally need video evidence to support it; otherwise it's very subjective. It's a female because of ruddy-brown head and evenly spaced bars. She's not in moult with complete set of feathers. Interesting how the females seem to be involved in hand-to-hand combat defending the nest while the males do the victory rolls over the site after you've exited!

Male: one long clip of 7 minutes 51 seconds was taken of display at end of visit. Think this display was a mixture of relief and triumph after I'd been seen off! It involved much diving, rearing up and long flight calls in excellent light conditions. The video is split above into 3 roughly equal parts: 646b-d. These show very typical structural features with small head, long neck and long thin tail. The head is grey and the bird is a pale morph. Two tail bars can be seen on some of the stills. The dive, probably the most characteristic pose of all those for Honey-buzzard, shows the small pointed head, like an arrow head, the carpal joints pushed well forward, the wings held completely swept back in parallel with the body and the long narrow tail trailing behind. It's obviously a very efficient pose aerodynamically and enables the birds to dive very quickly when alarmed or if conditions on migration deteriorate.

To follow: analysis of calls.

Northumberland, England 2009

video 2009-477

Stills show: long neck, small head and long tail with narrow base 3  6 2  ; long neck, small head, long tail with narrow base, long wings with rounded wingtip (P10 as long as P5) 4  ; long neck, small head, long tail with narrow base, long wings with rounded wingtip (P10 as long as P5), extensive black on wingtip, dark trailing edge, head and carpal 5  ; extensive black on wingtip, dark trailing edge, head and carpal, broad dark subterminal band to tail 1 .

Tyne Valley, 2 September 2009, female heavily mobbed by Lesser Black-backed Gull as she went off to feed.

Video 477 is 1 minutes 10 seconds long, 4.83 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 96 MB.

Video 477 was taken at 12:32. It shows, after soaring, a female adult Honey-buzzard drifting off to hunt. The bird is mobbed by an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, one of 5 in total (2 adults, 3 juveniles) present. She then moves off rather more quickly with typical flapping flight but again is mobbed by the gulls.

Other sightings this day here were at 12:14 a juvenile up above canopy briefly; at 12:55 male up very high; at 13:00 two juveniles joining male in the sky but not as high for about 5 minutes. The juveniles though did go much higher than those seen earlier this day, suggesting they've been fledged longer than the ones further upstream, which were reluctant to leave the trees.

video 2009-464a  2009-464b

Stills show: small pointed head with fine bill, long tail equal to wing width with narrow base, relatively long P10 (=P5), dark subterminal tail band and dark trailing edge, feather damage on right wing P7 missing and at least tip of P6 gone and on left wing at least tip to P8 or P9 missing, 2 indistinct dark bands across primaries 12  13  11  10  23  19  20  21  22; dark brown head, primary tips, trailing edge, carpal and subterminal and inner band on tail 2  3  6  7  4  5  1  8  9; upperside brown-purplish sheen, pale patch on primary base, dark subterminal band on tail and envelope to wing, indistinct band across middle of wing 18  17  16.

Allen, 15 August 2009, female flying around clearing in moderate breeze, followed by Common Buzzard doing same manoeuvre under identical conditions.

Video 464a is 0 minutes 36 seconds long, 12.5 MB, .wmv format. Video 464b is 3 minutes 30 seconds long, 26.5 MB, .wmv format. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 462 MB for 464a, 464b and Common Buzzard below.

Videos 464a and 464b were taken at 16:30 in the late afternoon. They show a female adult Honey-buzzard, which is kite-like (elegant, agile, wings held level, floppy tendency at times, smooth flapping action, lightweight, long tail, narrow tail base, small head) but tail is not forked so Honey-buzzard family; the plumage of dark wing-tips, dark carpals and dark head is consistent with female Honey-buzzard; the bird is missing at least tip of primary P7 on right wing only so this is feather damage not a moult condition. Video 464b shows a continuation of the action at higher altitude.

The Common Buzzard video shows a buzzard (buteo)-like bird (compact, heavy, wings held raised, stiff flapping action, short tail with broad base, large head); plumage is consistent with Common Buzzard; moult is in full progress indicating an adult not a juvenile; bird appears large compared with Honey-buzzard, suggesting a female (but not proving it). Stills from video (1  2) show short tail with broad base and generally compact appearance. It's not often you get the chance to study 2 species of raptor performing under identical wind conditions. But here it happened!

The nest is high up in Norway Spruce. These shots compare the nest on 15/8 with that on 4/7, showing it has increased in size considerably. A close up of the nest on 15/8 is shown here with further images at 1  2. A short video of the nest is available here. A pan of the nest site area is shown here.

Three calls were heard on this visit but not apparently recorded: a single adult alarm call and 2 chicken-like calls from the young in the nest.

video 2009-446a   2009-446b   2009-446c

Stills, all from 446a, show: long tail with rounded corners and bulging sides, long neck, small head, dark primary tips extending onto hand, subterminal tail band, inner tail band, relatively long P10 (=P5), dark trailing edge, S-shaped trailing edge in some poses 27  23  24  21  22  16  17  14  12  9  10  6  7  5  2  3  4 ; small head held on long neck and raised in flight 26  13 ; small head twisted in flight 20  15.


Devil's Water, 15 July 2009, female in fly-pass at close range over field near nest site; female floating over site for some time; male in reconnaissance over site; nest site is in Scots Pine near the river.

Video 446a is 1 minutes 51 seconds long, 9.53 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 128 MB. Video 446b is 5 minutes 23 seconds long, 19.4 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 372 MB. Video 446c is 1 minutes 36 seconds long, 8.71 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 185 MB.

Video 446a was taken from 16:05-16:10. It shows the female flying at low altitude from a wood near its nest site to the area to the south-west of the nest site. The flight is very elegant but rather floppy in style with a casual overtone. The typical structure of a Honey-buzzard is shown with long narrow tail with narrow base, small head, long neck, long wings and trailing edge to secondaries pinched in near tail. Video 446b was taken from 16:33-16:38. It shows the female floating over the nest area without a significant wing beat for over 5 minutes: the flight is very leisurely with minimal energy use. At the very end of the video a Common Buzzard rises up from the trees. It is not uncommon for Common Buzzard to stay in the trees while Honey-buzzard are up in territory. Video 446c was taken around 16:40. It shows the male checking that the nest area is clear after my departure. The female briefly appears in this clip.

The nest's here in a Scots Pine.

Mobbed heavily by Common Buzzard on the walk-in where young were just flying with 2 adults and 2 juveniles showing.

video 2009-437a  2009-437b  2009-437c  2009-437d

Stills show: small head, long tail 1  2  4 ; small head, pale underside and head with dark edges to wings 3 ; small head, long tail, pinched-in wings at body, two tail bars 5 ; in gliding long narrow wings and long narrow tail (kite-like) 6  7  8  9.

Allen, 4 July 2009, male in territorial display in air followed by extensive patrolling over wide area from 12:10-12:25; walk-in to site with nest located in Norway Spruce; alarm calls and owl-like anxiety calls kuik; female flying out to feed at neighbouring site.

Video 437a is 2 minutes 44 seconds long, 8.37 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 198 MB. Video 437b is 9 minutes 23 seconds long, 28.6 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 699 MB. Video 437c is 1 minute 29 seconds long, 29.2 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 180 MB. Video 437d is 1 minute 24 seconds long, 10.1 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 108 MB.

The videos 437a and 437b were taken from 12:10-12:25. They show a male in flight: he did a pretty typical fast glide near the site and then moved off eastwards doing over 15 minutes a complex series of manoeuvres over a wide area including a modification of the sky dance and some reconnaissance. Some of the early movement seems to be a modified rather low-key form of the sky dance but later on the male seems to be surveying in sweeps a large area to the E of the nest site, perhaps assessing the habitat. It's over 9 minutes of continuous shooting with the bird getting more and more distant, but it is a useful record of territorial patrolling. Video 437c shows the approach to the nest site through the trees in the gloom. Video 437d shows at the neighbouring site at 15:30 a female off to feed to the S, flying cunningly up the valley, hardly breaking the tree line.

The nest's somewhere in the trees here 1; actually in this Norway Spruce 1  2.

Calls: whole sequence is available here as a single wma. The clearest calls are just past the 60 second mark and at the very end with 3 spectrograms compiled so far (3  1  2). The calls are short with one harmonic and generally weaker on upstroke than downstroke so close to alarm calls as described on the calls page. There's a fairly lengthy section before the 60 second mark in which there are no clear alarm calls but there are faint calls from 40-44 seconds classified earlier on the calls page as owl-like kuik, with spectrogram here. All these calls are very different from Common Buzzard calls which have more harmonics and an explosive upstroke. Honey-buzzard calls appear purer, more plaintive and less strident. See the calls page for a further example of the kuik calls, from 2004.

video 2009-430

Stills show: diving 11  12  13  14, gliding 6  7  8  9  10 and floating 2  3  4  5. The structure of the Honey-buzzard (with small head, long neck and long tail) is emphasised very much when diving, to some extent when gliding and to a lesser extent when floating.

Devil's Water (Hexhamshire), 21 June 2009, nest located in Scots Pine and male in territorial display in air; alarm calls from presumed female.

Video 430 is 0 minutes 47 seconds long, 7.94 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 102 MB.

The video was taken at 11:05. It shows first a Common Buzzard hanging over the site, followed by a male Honey-buzzard rearing up quickly. The Honey-buzzard briefly floats, then enters a glide before diving back into the nest site.

Last year's site had been clear-felled. These birds were occupying a new territory 700m to the W of last year's but the species of tree they were nesting in, the elevation and the style of the nest were all maintained. The new nest is in the same species of tree (Scots Pine) and of the same shape as last year's.

Calls: alarm presumably from the sitting female who had retreated into thick cover and got into a row with a Jay: wma   jpeg.

video 2009-420a  2009-420b

Stills to follow.

Devil's Water (Hexhamshire), 2 June 2009, female soaring and floating over site.

Video 420a is 3 minutes 36 seconds long, 8.04 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 102 MB. Video 420b is 3 minutes 31 seconds long, 7.01 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 102 MB.

The videos were taken at 10:55. Video 420a shows a female flapping deeply at the start to get properly airborne, then soaring slowly but with minimum effort high into the sky. Video 420b shows the same bird effortlessly floating at height. Both videos are taken over a field to the east of the nest itself. Shortly after the pair of adults displayed a little further away over the actual nest site.

video 2009-406c   2009-406f   2009-406a

Stills show: (from video 406c with Windows Movie Maker) for female (dark head and dark wing tips) small cuckoo-like head, long neck and long tail 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; short and fine legs dangling 13.

Devil's Water (Hexhamshire), 7 May 2009, pair in display in strong winds.

Video 406c is 0 minutes 50 seconds long, 3.70 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 352 MB. Video 406f is 1 minutes 1 seconds long, 5.44 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 86 MB. Video 406a is 0 minutes 4 seconds long, 0.78 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder, comes from same original clip as 406c. All formatted for broadband, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player,.

The videos were taken from 11:10-11:20. They show a female gliding down towards the observer and passing quite closely (406c), a male in rather wild display flight in the strong wind (406f) and the male again in a very brief glide (406a).

For comparison, Common Buzzard on same occasion: 1   2 ; accompanying sheep and lambs 3

video 2009-404a  2009-404b   2009-404b hq   2009-404c   2009-404d   2009-404e

Tyne Valley, 3 May 2009, pair in display including sky dance.

Video 404a is 0 minutes 34 seconds long, 3.75 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 63 MB. Video 404b is 1 minutes 12 seconds long, 4.40 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 98 MB. Video 404b hq is 0 minutes 38 seconds long, 7.28 MB, formatted at higher quality. Video 404c is 9 minutes 14 seconds long, 34.6 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 638 MB. Video 404d is 0 minutes 37 seconds long, 2.04 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 326 MB. Video 404e is 1 minutes 22 seconds long, 5.05 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 112 MB. All formatted for broadband, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player,.

The videos were taken from 12:10-12:30. They show a male soaring (404a), a male in dive and flap display (404b), a male and 2 females displaying (404c), a pair soaring with some display (404d) and a male floating (404e). Video 404b shows the male in sky dance with a steep rapid dip, followed by a rapid rise becoming vertical in angle at the top, with fluttery wing beats at the turn. The female also does some sky dancing in video 404c.

Calls: long call taken from video 404b at 01:39 mark; available as compressed audio (wma), standard audio (wav) and spectrogram (jpeg, call is 2.0-2.5kHz, duplicated). The spectrogram shows a typical long call of a Honey-buzzard with emphasis on downstroke, whereas emphasis in Common Buzzard is on upstroke. More descriptively, the Common Buzzard call is explosive at the start whereas the Honey-buzzard call builds up more slowly.

video 2009-402a  2009-402b

Allen, 2 May 2009, pair soaring and male flying out to feed.

Video 402a is 2 minutes 44 seconds long, 9.60 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 235 MB. Video 402b is 0 minutes 50 seconds long, 5.18 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 74 MB.

Video 402a was taken at 13:10. It shows a male (with missing feathers on left wing) soaring to join at the end another Honey-buzzard (presumed mate). The soaring is interesting as the bird impatiently searches for thermals. In the end it flies further out from the hill to catch the updraught,which enables it to soar very rapidly. Video 402b, taken at 12:14, shows the same male going out to feed. The long narrow tail, greyish plumage and S-shaped floppy wings with tips held down are characteristic.

video 2009-401

Hexhamshire, 2 May 2009, four adults displaying.

Video 401 is 4 minutes 42 seconds long, 12.9 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 361 MB.

The video was taken from 17:25-17:30. It shows four birds in display at very high altitude with typical follow-me and dives with exaggerated wing beats.

North Yorkshire, England 2009

video 2009-474

Stills to follow.

Everley, 30 August 2009, male in fly-pass over valley.

Video 474 is 2 minutes 33 seconds long, 18.6 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 250 MB.

Video 474 was taken at close range at 11:55. It shows a male flying over a valley with typical floating, buoyant jizz. The typical structure of a Honey-buzzard is shown with long narrow tail with narrow base bulging slightly on the sides, small head and long wings. Some commentary is provided during the recording on the identification features.


Durham, England 2009

video 2009-483a  2009-483b  2009-483c

Stills show: to follow.

Derwent, 6 September 2009, family party of 4 birds out on the moorland edge.

Video 483a is 2 minutes 36 seconds long, 8.54 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder is part of 483b. Video 483b is 2 minutes 58 seconds long, 6.87 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 472 MB. Video 483c is 4 minutes 02 seconds long, 16.7 MB, .wmv format, original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 370 MB.

Video 483 was taken at 11:40 as the weather changed from a bright opening to the day to light drizzle. Video 483a shows the male coming out from the nest site in conifers on the moorland edge and flying off in a NW direction, presumably to forage. Videos 483b and 483c were taken chronologically before 483a. 483b shows the complete family group (2 adults, 2 juveniles) up in the air at some time. 483c shows just the adult female with the 2 juveniles. The birds are shown landing and taking-off in the heather, hanging over the site and flapping shallowly and easily in the wind.

Northumberland, England 2008

video 2008-351a  2008-351b  2008-351c  2008-351d 

Stills show: (from EOS 400D) on field at distance 1 ; (from screen dumps from video with Sony utility) on field close-up showing long tail, protruding well beyond wingtips at rest, yellow cere and majority of bill, small head, short legs with feathered tarsi 2 ; (from video with Windows Movie Maker) further pictures of bird on field 3  4  5  6 ; in flight, underside, extensive black on wingtip, dusky secondaries, sparse barring on no.7 across inner and middle primaries (3 bars) 7  8  10  11 ; upperside, dark subterminal tail band, dark primaries and secondaries 9  12 .

Further stills added in June 2009 from PMB processing of video, giving much higher quality of still images: in particular 13 showing clearly long tail projection, small head and yellow bill; 14 showing 4-5 thickish bars across middle primaries; 15  16  17  18  19  20  21 emphasising details as above.

Lower South Tyne, 26 August 2008, two juveniles in flight and feeding on field, with one seen close-up.

Video 351a is 0 minutes 13 seconds long, 6.56 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 64.0 MB. Video 351b is 2 minutes 43 seconds long, 44.9 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 204.0 MB. Video 351c is 1 minutes 23 seconds long, 30.8 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 123.0 MB. Video 351d is 1 minutes 33 seconds long, 51.4 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 288.0 MB. Note pictures 1 and 2 are bit-map dumps from Sony's Picture Motion Browser in an attempt to retain the HD pixels better.

The videos were taken from 11:50-12:50. Video 351a shows a juvenile Honey-buzzard standing in a field in the open, before taking off to fly away. The other videos were taken earlier in the sequence. In video 351b two juvenile Honey-buzzards are shown over the hill behind the field. The swarm of flying insects is so intense that it does interfere with the autofocus at times. The combination of broad inner wing and long tail is shown by the birds in flight. Common Buzzard juveniles can appear to have longer tails than adult Common Buzzard but the effect is largely illusory caused by the narrower wings of the juvenile Common Buzzard. Video 351c shows one of the juveniles, floating over the fields before coming into land on a bare patch of a field. Video 351d shows the two juveniles feeding in the fields, rather like a pheasant with horizontal stance, long neck and long tail and pecking at the surface to capture food items. One of the birds moved fields to land next to a crow, which is clearly rather unnerved by the close company. One bird landed on a post for a while where the very pale underside and long tail are very obvious.

video 2008-350

Stills from video show: for juvenile (from screen dumps on Sony utility) long tail with narrow base, three bands across inner primaries, elongated carpal, extensive black on wingtip 1  2 ; small head, long neck and tail, three bands across inner primaries, extensive black on wingtip 3 ; small head, long neck and tail, fine bill 4 ; (from Windows Movie Maker) long neck, small head, long tail with narrow base 5  6  7  8.

Allen, 25 August 2008, male and juvenile flying over.

Video 350 is 0 minutes 44 seconds long, 11.9 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in a number of clips in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 111.0 MB.

The video, taken at 12:10, shows a male first crossing the gorge, followed soon after by a juvenile. The juvenile obviously struggles into the wind and it has to perform some extensive tail ruddering to keep control.

video 2008-346

Stills from video show kite-like appearance in distance 1 2 ; pale head, narrow tail base, broad wings 3 4 ; wings depressed in flap, bold flash on primaries 5 ; long rectangular reddish carpal, broad dark trailing edge, limited black on wingtip 6 9 ; wings raised with primaries swept back, small head, long tail 7 ; wings depressed, small head protruding, broad dark trailing edge 8 ; narrow long tail, small head on long neck 10 11 .

Tyne Valley at Wylam Bridge, 17 August 2008, male gliding upriver before turning back.

Video 346 is 1 minutes 49 seconds long, 20.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 125.0 MB.

The video was taken around 17:20 over the River Tyne. It shows a male Honey-buzzard approaching from some distance to the E (downstream). Having watched Red Kites for some time, this bird looked very kite-like at first but as it came closer it was clear from the tail shape and underwing pattern that it was a Honey-buzzard. The video shows well the kite-like jizz of Honey-buzzard with soft wing beats, leisurely and buoyant flight, long tail and wings and general mastery of the air. The bird did not pass over the bridge but retraced its path downstream. The background noise from the weir on the River is very high.

video 2008-345

Stills from video show: long wings and tail v1   v2 ; long wings and tail, small head, extensive dark area on primary tips v3 .

Tyne Valley, 16 August 2008, female flying off to hunt, nest site habitat and anger calls.

Video 345 is 0 minutes 46 seconds long, 21.2 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in a number of clips in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 567.0 MB.

Stills from EOS camera: nest in Scots Pine n1  n2  n3 .

Anger calls: audio wma ; spectrogram for last two calls jpg 1   jpg 2 . Note the weak upstroke on the calls, which is characteristic of Honey-buzzard.

The video of the female in flight was taken at 11:40. The other recordings, taken from 12:00-12:50, show the habitat around the nest site, the nest in Scots Pine, the butchering area and the anger calls.

video 2008-344

Stills from video show: long tail, small head on long neck v1  v2 ; broad wings held level and pinched in at base v3 .

upper South Tyne, 15 August 2008, nest site with female in territory.

Video 344 is 0 minutes 27 seconds long, 12.8 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in 2 clips in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 78.3 MB.

Stills from EOS camera: processed by zooming and brightening s1   s2   s3   s4   s5   s6   s7   s8   ; s8 original . These stills show feather damage with P10 on both wings appearing to have broken tips, at least one secondary missing on right wing and both P5 and P6 missing (or shortened) on left wing. P1-P4 which have probably been moulted on the breeding grounds (that is here!) are in good condition as they are new. There are three fairly evenly spaced bars across the primary feathers, as expected for a female. The head is dark and the black on the wingtips is fairly extensive, reaching into the hand. Structurally the tail is long, about 95% of the wingwidth, the head is small and the bill is fine. Feather damage may be caused by the rough terrain in which the birds forage on the ground. They might catch feathers in brambles or thorns, which are frequent near their nest sites. It is doubtful that the damage is very often caused by shooting as sometimes supposed.

The video was taken in two clips from 11:30-12:00. The first shows the nest in Oak. The second shows the female in territory near the site. She is quite anxious as expected when fledging is imminent.

video 2008-340a  2008-340b  2008-340c 

Stills from video show: female with damage to left wing showing missing P5 and an inner secondary, P10 may also be damaged on tip, right wing appears to be intact: small head, long tail with rounded corners, narrow tail base, relatively long P10 on right wing 1 2 ; long neck, small head, pinched-in wing base 3 4 5 ; male with wings intact: dark envelope to wing, broad subterminal tail band, long neck, small head 6 7 8 ; small head, long tail, pinched-in wing base, relatively long P10 9 10 11 ; dark envelope to wing 12 . Note pictures 1 and 6 are bit-map dumps from Sony's Picture Motion Browser in an attempt to retain the HD pixels better.

Tyne Valley, 8 August 2008, female and male defending nest site, the latter against a juvenile Common Buzzard.

Video 340a is 1 minutes 40 seconds long, 55.6 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 248.0 MB. Video 340b is 1 minutes 22 seconds long, 46.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 145.0 MB. Video 340c is 0 minutes 59 seconds long, 36.7 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 144.0 MB.

The videos were taken from 11:20-11:30. Video 340a shows a female Honey-buzzard patrolling over the nest site checking on what I'm up to. The female shows some possible moult (inner secondary) but also a loss of P5 on one wing only which suggests damage. In video 340b a juvenile Common Buzzard strays into the edge of the site with much calling and this causes some consternation to the Honey-buzzard. The male with all feathers intact intervenes giving a single alarm call (wma , jpeg  with call at 6 seconds showing short call, brief build-up, marked peak in volume at highest frequency and only one significant overtone at 2.8-3.3kHz with main band at 1.8-2.3kHz) and guards the nest site against the intrusion of the Common Buzzard. All calls before the alarm call are typical multi-syllable Common Buzzard juvenile calls but this bird is not captured visually in flight, although it was seen while the camcorder was warming up on the edge of the wood. Video 340c gives some background information, including the Douglas Fir in which the birds are nesting, an overgrown glade giving the flavour of the wood and some transport to show what a hub the site is!

video 2008-330 

lower South Tyne, 21 June 2008, male flapping around territory.

Video 330 is 1 minutes 16 seconds long, 14.4 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 235.0 MB.

Video 330 shows at 11:58 a male arriving into the site from the west and then turning in towards the nest location. The weather was calm and dull with rain imminent so soaring would have been difficult. The flap-flap-glide motion looks fairly laboured. After the bird completes its turn, it can be seen that it tilts its body up to some extent so the front part is slightly raised. This has been seen before in birds in energetic flap-glide action and presumably has some aerodynamic function.

video 2008-325a  2008-325b  2008-325c  2008-325d 

Stills from video show: male with small head, long wings (c80% span of Red Kite), damage to tail feathers and inner primaries 1   5 ; pale head, narrow dark area on primary fingers, long narrow dark carpal patch, subterminal tail band, pinched in wings near body, fairly uniform pale body and head 2   3 ; long tail, small head, primaries flexed back before a dive 4 ; short talons of Honey-buzzard (on right) 13 ; female in vulture pose with small head, broad wings, tail fully spread, extensive dark area on primary tips 6 ; large wing span relative to Red Kite of c90-95%, kite-like pose in no. 8 where lower bird is Honey-buzzard 7   8 ; dark primary tips and subterminal band to tail 9 ; female undergoing aggressive attack by Curlew (wing span c60-65% of Honey-buzzard) 10.

Allen, 31 May 2008, male interacting with Red Kite, female interacting in turn with Red Kite and Curlew, pair in follow-me display.

Video 325a is 3 minutes 16 seconds long, 43.3 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 325b is 2 minutes 47 seconds long, 31.7 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 325c is 1 minutes 31 seconds long, 18.5 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 325d is 2 minutes 58 seconds long, 8.14 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband at a lower quality than the others. Original for the 5 videos in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 799 MB.

The videos were secured around 11:00. Video 325a shows a male Honey-buzzard in an apparently rather playful interaction with a Red Kite. The male has some damage to tail and inner primary feathers but this does not appear to affect its flying performance. The jizz of the male is of a very buoyant flight with soft wingbeats (supple wings) with the overall feel of a kite including the wings being held level. The male makes a long call after 2 minutes 46 seconds (wma, spectrogram with call at 5 seconds showing main band at 2.0-2.8kHz with relatively weak upstroke). Video 325b shows the female with the Red Kite at a greater distance from the camcorder. The relationship looks to be rather less playful. It can be seen that the female is very large, indeed approaching the Red Kite in wingspan. Many Honey-buzzard do appear to be larger than Common Buzzard than is suggested by many field guides. Video 325s starts off with a brief view of the kite and then shows the female being mobbed aggressively by a Curlew. The whole incident is over in seconds which is not unusual. Video 325d shows the pair of Honey-buzzard at some height in follow-me display or perhaps more accurately synchronised flying. After some time the lower bird (female?) returns to the ground and the other (male?) soars even higher. Flies and haze affect the quality of the video in some shots: it's not surprising of course that this is an insect-rich area.

video 2008-314a  2008-314b  2008-314c  2008-314d  2008-314e 

Stills from video show: perched with small head and long tail 1  ; in flight with small head, long neck, long thin tail and head held upwards 2  3  5  7 12  ; small head, long neck and extensive damage to right wing 4  6  8  10  11  ; relatively long P10 9 

Hexhamshire, 21 May 2008, male and two females in territory.

Video 314a is 1 minutes 40 seconds long, 38.0 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 314b is 1 minutes 53 seconds long, 29.0 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 314c is 1 minutes 48 seconds long, 25.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 314d is 1 minutes 14 seconds long, 37.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 314e is 0 minutes 51 seconds long, 13.5 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for the 5 videos in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 585.0 MB.

The videos were secured around 10:30. Video 314a shows a female with all feathers intact rising at low level and actively flying over the tops of the trees. The wing beats are deep and heavy at low altitude and the bird goes into a flap-flap-glide sequence which is very characteristic at this time of year. Video 314b shows the same bird soaring, becoming quite skittish around 1:15 with kite-like flaps and a characteristic long flight call with weak upstroke. Video 314c shows the second female which has extensive damage to feathers particularly on its right wing, perhaps from being shot at or by an attack by another raptor. This bird does a long effortless glide in spite of the wing damage and shows some very typical deep flaps at the end of the clip. Video 314d shows the same bird, initially perched in the open in a tree which is very unusual. The bird then flies straight towards the observer and a number of stills are shown above, giving the classical structure of a Honey-buzzard. Video 314e shows the male at this site. This bird has an obviously long thin tail. The neck is also long but the crop is full so does not appear thin. The bird is more lightweight in general than the females. It has slight damage to its left wing.

video 2008-313 

Derwent, 20 May 2008, female and male in territory.

Video 313 is 1 minutes 53 seconds long, 29.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 145.8 MB.

Video 313 shows at 12:10 a female floating twice over her territory in an effortless way. The long tail, wings and neck, broad wings and small head can be seen, as well as the S-shape to the trailing edge. The male appeared at 12:30 and floats into the site from the north. Males have more obvious long tails and a slighter profile generally.

video 2008-310a 2008-310b 

Tyne Valley, 18 May 2008, female in territory.

Video 310a is 1 minutes 18 seconds long, 17.4 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 310b is 3 minutes 57 seconds long, 15.3 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 310b is saved at a lower quality than 310a. Original for both videos in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 364.0 MB.

Video 310a shows at 12:50 a female rising from a wood and gaining some height in an effortless soar. Video 310b carries on directly from 310a and shows the bird in territorial display 'beating the bounds' with some flap-flap-glide. Near the end the bird is mobbed by the inevitable Crow. The wings are held level and are broad, particularly at the wing tip. The tail is long. The head is seen to be small when the bird is peering around. The jizz is generally rather kite-like with agile flicks of the wings.

video 2008-309 

Hexhamshire, 13 May 2008, male in territory.

Video 309 is 0 minutes 57 seconds long, 10.5 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 71.4 MB.

Video 309 shows at 12:20 a male rising at distance up over a site and floating without a wingbeat for some distance before diving towards the trees. In the moderate easterly breeze the wings are raised slightly, but smoothly with no kink at the carpal. The tail is long, the colour is greyish and the head is pale. The female kept lower, being only visible flying through the tops of the trees and was not captured on the video.

video 2008-307 

upper South Tyne, 11 May 2008, pair displaying.

Video 307 is 2 minutes 22 seconds long, 31.5 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 191.0 MB.

Video 307 shows at 13:10 a male with soft wing beats hanging in the wind, joined by a female. The pair engage in mutual circling, a little follow-me, a dive and a chase. The male does not appear paler in this case and the separation is based on the structure, which is normally heavier in females.

video 2008-306a  2008-306b 

Hexhamshire, 9 May 2008, pair in display + spare female.

Video 306a is 1 minutes 39 seconds long, 24.4 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 306b is 2 minutes54 seconds long, 33.6 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for both videos in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 388.0 MB.

Video 306a shows at 10:05 an adult female, not part of the pair, first flying across a clearing and then attempting to gain height with much active flapping flight; this video shows how distinctive the active flight is in Honey-buzzards with a much looser wing action than in Common Buzzard. Note also the long tail, the pinching-in of the wings at the body, the holding of the wings level at all times and the relatively long P10 giving a broad wingtip. Video 306b shows at 10:00 a pair (adult male and female). There is some display with a limited follow-me sequence in which one bird faithfully follows the other through various turns. The male is lighter in colour and in weight and is missing feathers in the outer primaries, tail and inner primaries. This damage will be recent as the males have an almost complete moult on their wintering grounds in Africa.

A call heard from the spare female is still to be analysed.

video 2008-305 

upper South Tyne, 5 May 2008, adult female, in territory.

Video 305 is 1 minutes 35 seconds long, 21.2 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 142.0 MB.

Video 305 shows at 11:40 an adult female floating over her territory in effortless flight. The shape of this bird is classical Honey-buzzard, though for those used to seeing fasting birds on migration, the neck looks thick: that is because this bird has a full crop.

video 2008-304 

Allen, 4 May 2008, adult female, in territory.

Video 304 is 2 minutes 58 seconds long, 41.0 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 205.0 MB.

Video 304 shows at 13:40 an adult female moving from one side of the valley to the other. Rather than flap across, the preferred mode, saving energy, is to gain height without a flap and then glide down. The jizz is quite kite-like at times, not surprising perhaps for a species closely linked to kites.

video 2008-302 

Tyne Valley, 3 May 2008, adult male, patrolling.

Video 302 is 0 minutes 21 seconds long, 8.85 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 124.0 MB.

Video 302 shows at 11:40 an adult male patrolling its territory. This bird hugged the tops of the trees and was difficult to capture on video. Long tail is obvious in the turn. Through the binoculars the bird was grey-brown in colour.

video 2008-300 

Stills from video show: long wings, pursued by crow 1 ; upside down showing short talons to the crow 2 ; upside down, backing off from crow 3 4 ; wing held high in upstroke 5 ; long wings and tail, size much bigger than crow 6 ; small head, long wings, size much bigger than crow 7 8 .

Tyne Valley, 17 April 2008, one adult female, presumed migrant, mobbed by Carrion Crow Corvus corone

Video 300 is 0 minutes 25 seconds long, 6.07 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original in SD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 32.75MB.

Video 300 shows at 14:10 an adult female being aggressively mobbed by a Carrion Crow to the background sounds of singing Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita. The Honey-buzzard evades the crow and eventually flies off in flap-flap-glide mode. The Honey-buzzard had just powered its way up the Tyne (from the east), looking rather like an Osprey Pandion haliaetus at first sight because of its long wings and energetic deep flapping flight. It then circled around the area. A long visit to the same area on 26 April failed to re-locate the bird.

Some stills were also taken. These will be added shortly.

Wrocław, Poland 2008

video 2008-375a 

Still from video shows: long wings, long tail, small head 1 .

Wrocław, 12 September 2008, one bird flapping S.

Video 375a is 0 minutes 12 seconds long, 2.75 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for the video in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 19 MB.

The video was taken around 13:34. It shows one bird in a very determined move flapping to S in very dull weather, when soar-glide would not have been possible.

video 2008-374a 

Klodzko, 11 September 2008, one juvenile soaring on its way S.

Video 374a is 3 minutes 53 seconds long, 13.1 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for the video in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 268 MB.

The video was taken around 12:03. It shows a juvenile soaring effortlessly near the Czech border at noon. The bird eventually disappeared into the thin high cloud and glided off S.

video 2008-370a 

Still from video shows: long wings, long tail, small head, long neck 1 .

Wrocław, 10 September 2008, one bird gliding to S.

Video 370a is 0 minutes 12 seconds long, 3.11 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for the video in HD XP format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 233 MB (with other material).

The video was taken around 14:28. It shows one bird in a very determined move to S.

Cumbria, England 2008

video 2008-328a  2008-328b  2008-328c  

Stills from video 328c show small head, long neck, long tail: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

Windermere, 13 June 2008, 3 birds altogether in display over site.

Video 328a is 1 minutes 17 seconds long, 51 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 328b is 2 minutes 23 seconds long, 69 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for videos 328 and 328b in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 348 MB. Video 328c is 1 minutes 09 seconds long, 4.54 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for the video in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 88 MB.

The video for 328a and 328b was taken around 12:08. It shows 2 males and a female interacting over a wood for a 5-minute period. Video 328c shows at 13:06 a female gliding in to the wood below from the edge of the moor above Windermere.

Stirlingshire, Scotland 2008

video 2008-320a  2008-320b  2008-320c 

Stills from video show: small dark head, long neck, dark carpal, broad dark trailing edge, dark fingers, broad dark subterminal band on tail with narrower band near tail 1  2 ; long narrow tail, small head, long neck 3  4  7  21 ; bulging tail, S shape to trailing edge 5 ; cuckoo-style flight with small head raised 6  22 ; soaring mode, tail with two bands,long wings, relatively long P10 (slightly longer than P5), more buzzard-like in this mode with neck retracted 8  9  10  11  12 ; very kite-like with wings depressed, carpal pushed very well forward, long tail and small head 13  14 ; perched on ground, short legs, long neck and small head 15 ; upperside with pale tail and grey-brown wings with dark trailing edge, lesser coverts and primary coverts 16  20 ; strong light on underside shows carpal has paler band across it on median coverts 17 ; two tail bands showing 18 ; long thin neck and small head (overall appearance is gamebird-like) 19 .

Doune, 26 May 2008, female hunting over a silage field.

Video 320a is 1 minutes 14 seconds long, 13.5 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 320b is 2 minutes 11 seconds long, 22.8 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Video 320c is 1 minutes 00 seconds long, 28.3 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Original for video 320a in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 96.0 MB and for videos 320b and 320c together in HD HQ format (.mpeg) on Sony HD camcorder occupies 231.0 MB.

It might be a good idea to mute the sound as there is a lot of traffic noise. The only bird calls heard are from the adult Common Gull Larus canus mobbing the Honey-buzzard in 320a. Video 320a shows at 12:30 a dark morph female floating over a silage field which has just been cut and on which the workforce is just departing. The jizz is very kite-like with effortless floating, much flexing of tail and frequent depression of wings. The tail and wings are long and the tail is narrow. Video 320b carries on from 320a. The bird climbs higher for a while and then starts to descend as the workforce leaves. Video 320c shows the bird going into a rapid dive, just as some of the machinery pulls out. The bird dives onto the field, scattering a flock of Rooks, and presumably picking up a mouse, vole or frog, which has been exposed by the silage cutting, which is continuing with the bird coming down near the cutter. The bird is on the ground for a short time, showing its short legs, before flying off with characteristic deep swinging jizz, pursued by the Rooks.

Northumberland, England 2007

video 2007-275 

Stills from video show: small head, long neck 1 2 ; long wings 3 7 ; small head, dark wingtips, carpal and secondaries, relatively long P10 4 5 9 ; reddish-brown upperwing with dark envelope to wings and mid-wing transverse bar 6 ; small head, dark wingtips, carpal and secondaries, dark broad subterminal tail band 8 . The extensively dusky wingtips and secondaries indicate a juvenile. This assignment is supported by the limited ability of the bird in flight and the single weak call.

Tyne Valley, 24 August 2007, one juvenile presumed to be making maiden soar

Video 275 is 5 minutes 48 seconds long, 14.13 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 275 shows at 10:10 a juvenile doing what is presumed to be its first soar. It's a bit like 'watching paint dry'! It is a very hesitant performance to start with: the bird is clearly not adept at seeking thermals and spends a very long time getting up to any height. However, it does gain in height eventually, joining with its mother after about six minutes in the air without a flap. It is quite amazing how a juvenile has the instinct to conserve energy during a soar. Being able to do this makes the long migration to Africa a much more feasible operation energy-wise. The juvenile finally joined up with its mother just out of sight behind some trees but the final 10 seconds of the video show a glimpse of both birds together. Adult Honey-buzzard are adept at placing tree-tops between themselves and an observer to avoid being seen when soaring high over their nest sites. This juvenile was clearly being encouraged to acquire the same skills.

Calls: Wave (compressed wma) wma  spectrogram jpg

See Calls page for detailed analysis of the one long call made by the bird on the video at 3:51.

video 2007-268c  2007-268a  2007-268b  2007-268d 

Stills from video show: adult, long tail and wings, full rounded wing tip: 1 2 3 4 16 17 18 19 ; adult, long wings well-swept back in glide, long tail: 5 6 7 8 9 ; juvenile, shorter wings with blunter tips, shorter tail, appears to have a white head (no.12 particularly) and dark tips and trailing edge with pale midwing panel (no. 15): 10 11 12 13 14 15 .

Hexhamshire, 16 August 2007, pair of adults encouraging juvenile into the air

Video 268a is 2 minutes 30 seconds long, 8.36 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband in large format; video 268b is 2 minutes 32 seconds long, 7.10 MB, formatted for broadband; video 268c is 6 minutes 33 seconds long, 14.71 MB, formatted for broadband; video 268d is 1 minutes 46 seconds long, 4.22 MB, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Videos are numbered in chronological order but the third one 268c is shown first as this is the most interesting from the point of view of Honey-buzzard behaviour. The two videos taken earlier (268a and 268b, see below for more details) show protracted fast glides by the adults over an area of woodland. Video 268c at 12:35 shows what the desired outcome was: to get the juvenile flying above the canopy. The juvenile appears to have slipped a little way to the E before being picked up, perhaps by the strong wind, but from 0:10-1:20 it can be seen flapping rather wildly and in an unstable manner at times but overall its performance is pretty aerobatic. From 1:35-1:45 it has a hectic spell of flapping. From 1:40 an adult joins it. In the subsequent frames the juvenile can be told by its smaller size (wing and tail feathers not fully grown), its stiffer wingbeats and a tendency to raise its wings slightly at times. Hence it looks much more like a Common Buzzard than the adults do. From 2:10-5:40 there are frequently three birds in the frame (best display 4:30-5:38) and it is noticeable how the adults try and escort the juvenile at times, while giving it some freedom to test its flight skills. Video 268a shows at 11:50 a pair of adults stooping repeatedly at speed at a clump of trees; the flight is buoyant in a fresh W breeze. Video 268b shows the performance continuing at 12:20 after a pause in activity. Video 268d at 12:55 shows the end of the display with an adult doing some more restrained flight over the site.

video 2007-240 

Stills from video show: long wings, long narrow thin tail 1 3 11 ; narrow tail base 2 ; small head, long neck 4 5 6 7 8 ; deep wing flaps with tips well depressed on downstroke 9 10 ; pale flash on outer primaries, dark inner wing and tips 7 9 . The dark wingtips, lack of any hint of a pale head and relatively short tail suggest a female.

Hexhamshire, 20 July 2007, one adult female in display of anger at our nest visit

Video 240 is 6 minutes 6 seconds long, 23.26 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 240 shows at 10:10 a female mobbing us at the site with many anger calls. As noted before Honey-buzzards are adept at avoiding passing over open areas and only on a few occasions does this bird actually cross a clearing. The final 20 seconds of the video show the nest in a Scots Pine tree. This bird performed well in front of a silent (important) witness. We had spent 30 minutes waiting for any action but when it came it was a pretty strident performance.

video 2007-220 

Stills from video show: broad long wings, long thin tail, rounded broad tip with relatively long P10 1 2 3 4 5 6 ; neck is retracted and crop is full 7 8 10 ; in brightened copy of picture 8 dark head and dark envelope to wing 9 ; in dive long neck and small pointed head 11 12 13 .

Allen, 9 June 2007, one adult female soaring and returning to ground

Video 220 is 1 minutes 22 seconds long, 3.17 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 220 shows at 10:50 a female soaring over the site, then returning to ground coming in at close range in a dive.

The bird is a female as the brightened still shows dark head and fairly broad dark envelope to the wing on primary tips and leading and trailing edges. The neck is thick as the bird clearly has a full crop. It is quite incredible that the much reduced feeding of Honey-buzzards on migration has lead to the resulting empty crop being used in some quarters as an identification feature in Britain for this species on its breeding grounds! Certainly the neck is long when extended but the thickness depends on recent food intake.

video 2007-215b  2007-215a

Stills from video show male with pale head 1 ; small head, long neck and tail 2 ; deep wing flap, small head protruding, long tail 3 5 ; long tail, wings swept back 4 ; upperside pattern of male 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ; underwing pattern of male 13 14 15 ; female with missing feather (secondary on left wing) 16 17 18 ; female in vulture pose with fanned tail, small protruding head, broad wings particularly the inner wing 18 ; upperwing pattern of female 19 ; long wings of female 20 ; female showing small head, broad inner wing, rounded tip with relatively long P10, long tail with bulge towards tip 21 22 ; female with typical silhouette in glide showing long tail, bulging secondaries, long neck and pointed head 23 24 25 26 ; female showing narrow folded tail, extended neck and small head 27 29 ; female showing long slightly bulging tail 28 .

South Tyne, 3 June 2007, pair of adults in territorial display.

Video 215a is 1 minutes 27 seconds long, 4.07 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband in large format; video 215b is 3 minutes 24 seconds long, 10.26 MB, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 215a shows at 12:56 a female returning to the site with a flap-flap-glide action which is very typical at this time of year. She then floats over the site for a little while. Video 210b shows from 13:12-13:16 repeated flights into the site by both male and female with some limited mutual interaction between the two and some typical flapping action into the wind.

Upperside plumage seems to be fairly constant from the examples studied but more work is needed on a bigger sample. The male here (with pale head) shows relatively dark secondaries, trailing edge, primary tips, primary coverts, scapulars and lesser coverts and relatively pale tail, bases to primaries and median and greater coverts. The dark outer secondaries and primary coverts combine to give a band across the wing. The overall plumage appearance is a rufous/straw colour. Two bars are visible on the tail, one at the tip, the other about half way along the tail. The female (dark head) shows a similar upperwing pattern but with more extensive dark areas particularly on the edges of the wings. Her overall plumage appearance is darker and more rufous. The upperwing plumage is obviously more likely to be seen in breeding areas than on migration as in the former the birds often nest at the bottom of valleys. Forsman (1999, p.37) says that males have additional black bands on inner hand and that females have pale inner primaries, contrasting with the dark secondaries. Ferguson-Lees & Christie (2001, p. 338) more correctly say that it is the bases to the primaries which are paler. For Common Buzzard Forsman (1999, p. 271) says that juveniles have dark secondaries and pale coverts, while the adults have more uniform upperparts.

video 2007-210a  2007-210b

Stills from video show long narrow tail, long neck, small head and fairly extensive black on wingtips: 1 2 3 4

Kielder Forest, 1 June 2007, one adult displaying.

Video 210a is 0 minutes 13 seconds long, 2.33 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband in large format; video 210b is 5 minutes 46 seconds long, 13.20 MB, formatted for broadband; video 210c is 0 minutes 32 seconds long, 1.72MB, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 210a shows at 12:31 a female in a rapid fly pass taken from the side. The flight jizz is very characteristic of Honey-buzzard with a deep wing action giving significant amplitude to the flaps. Video 210b shows from 12:10-12:18 extended display by what is presumed to be the same female as seen a little later in video 210a. The jizz here is interesting with a very dynamic rowing action (as in Goshawk) shown at times and performed at great pace across the sky.

Calls: Wave (compressed wma) wma  spectrogram jpg (large, 1MB, best to download and use zoom on viewer)

See Calls page for detailed analysis of the 4 long calls made by the bird on the video at 2:29, 2:40, 2:52 and 3:06 on 210b. The call at 2:52 is the clearest.


For comparison purposes see also the video 2007-210c showing a Common Buzzard seen at 12:06 in the same visit. The Common Buzzard appears much more compact and more cumbersome in the air.

video 2007-200

Stills from video show long neck, small head 1 ; long wings with gap in secondaries on right wing 2 ; long narrow tail and long wings 3 4 5 ; deep wing beat 6 ; small head 7 ; long wings 8 ; small head, long narrow tail 9 11 ; long tail 10 ; with accompanying raptor, probably a Hobby 12 .

Tyne Valley, 28 April 2007, adult male on presumed arrival.

Video 200 is 4 minutes 50 seconds long, 12.86 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband in large format. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 200 shows at 13:59 a male's behaviour on presumed first arrival back to its territory. It was first seen immediately before recording started powering its way up the Tyne (moving W) at fairly low altitude, looking rather like an Osprey at first glance. The bird ranges extensively over the area around its site, first exploring the area mainly used for feeding to the N and then at distance going into flap-glide mode over the wood in its nesting area. A pair and nest were located at this site and one young was raised to fledging. The male was seen to depart high to the SE on 24 August, a stay of 119 days or just under 4 months. At 4:00 you can hear a hazard of staring up in the sky: being pounced upon by a friendly dog!

The bird certainly did not appear to be tired after its long migration with a prolonged display of powerful flight over the area: very few flaps are used to enormous effect. The bird does not appear to be unduly thin: it may have been feeding to some extent further south in England or even in France. In the field it appeared to be a definite male with pale head and underwing but these features have not come through in the video. The gap in the secondaries was not thought to be due to moult because the other wing was intact. The other raptor caught up in the video around 3:00 is thought to be a Hobby: there was one around and the raptor in question is small and agile with narrow wings and short tail. Hobbies do delight in mobbing Honey-buzzard.

Northumberland, England 2006


video 2006-125 

Stills from video show long narrow tail and long neck: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Hexhamshire, 10 July 2006, an adult in territory, making anger cries.

Video is 2 minutes 9 seconds long, 30.06 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband in large format. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows an agitated adult flying over pine trees in the vicinity of its nest at 21:00 in the evening. The flight jizz is very characteristic of Honey-buzzard with loose (not stiff) wing action and significant amplitude to the flaps.

Calls: Wave (compressed wma) wma  spectrogram jpg (large, 5MB, best to download and use zoom on viewer)

See Calls page for detailed analysis of the 15 anger calls made by the bird on the video.


video 2006-116a   2006-116b   2006-116c   2006-116d   2006-116e   2006-116f   2006-116g   2006-116h   2006-116i

Stills from video show:

Female: upperside with dark primary tips, dark band from secondaries to primary coverts, dark lesser coverts. This one is brown without any rufous or reddish tint. Dark subterminal tail band is shown on number 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 ; Long tail, long neck 7 ; Long tail slightly bulging near terminus with narrow base, long wings 8 9 10 11 12 ; Wings held very high, butterfly style 13 ; Long wings and tail, dark head, pale breast and upper belly 14 15 ; Kite-like pose 16 ; Underside, dark primary tips, pale base to outer primaries, dark secondaries, carpal, lesser coverts, head, belly 17 18 19 20 21 22 ; Small head, long neck, long thin tail bulging towards end, pale breast and upper belly 23 24 25 26(=21) 27(=22) ; Hanging in flight, primaries slightly swept back, long tail rather kite-like in shape 28   29   30   31   32   33

Male: Long tail, slender kite-like appearance: 1   2 ; Long neck, small head, primaries swept well back, carpal pushed forward, tail long thin and tightly folded 3   4   5 ; Long neck, small head, primaries swept well back, carpal pushed forward, tail long, not so tightly folded and slightly bulging 6   7 ; Small head, long tail, swept back primaries 8   9   10   11   12

South Tyne, 11 June 2006, a female in territory, in close-up fly-past, at 14:05. Earlier high-altitude display at 13:20-13:40 involving both sexes.

Six videos – 1) 116a is 42 seconds long, 4.39 MB; 2) 116b is 1 min 8 seconds long, 4.25MB; 3) 116c is 1 min 46 seconds long, 5.15MB; 4) 116d 1 min 6 seconds, 3.95MB; 5) 116e 1 min 44 seconds, 8.32MB; 6) 116f is 1 min 1 second, 3.87MB; 7) 116g is 1 min 28 seconds, 4.51MB; 8) 116h is 2 min 37 seconds, 7.94MB; 9) 116i is 1 min 20 seconds, 4.55MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 116a shows, as is not uncommon, the female racing up the valley after a prolonged display. The call at the start is from a Common Buzzard which had become increasingly irritated by the display in the vicinity of its own territory. Video 116b shows the female returning from this fly-pass with a series of energetic flap-glide actions and one or two agile movements. Video 116c shows the female soaring effortlessly on flat wings. Video 116d shows high-flying with the pair interacting (0:10-0:15) followed by the presumed male then peeling off and giving typical flap-glide at high altitude. Video 116e shows the presumed male (long tail, slighter build) gliding strongly down into the trees accompanied by complaining Oystercatcher (0:10-0:30); the bird is then in and out of the trees (0:31-0:47) before performing a power glide (0:48-0:59) followed by exaggerated flapping (1:00-1:08) and floating (1:09-1:44). Long flight calls are heard at 0:40 and 0:44. Video 116f shows a pair in mutual circling or one bird circling (0-0:43) followed by the presumed male gliding into trees and aborting the landing with a sharp rise (0:44-1:01). The male gives a long flight call at 0:49. Video 116g shows a pair in mutual circling (0-0:14) followed for the remainder by one bird effortlessly floating at altitude. Video 116h shows mutual circling by the pair (0-0:14) followed by the presumed female floating effortlessly with no wing action (0:15-2:36) except for a little dive (1:11). Video 116i shows the presumed female planing at some height (0-0:54), finally descending into trees (0:55-1:20), with no flaps throughout.

From video 116a, upperside plumage shows a similar pattern to that in video 112a, also for an adult female, with relatively dark secondaries, trailing edge, primary tips, primary coverts, scapulars and lesser coverts. The tail in this bird is, however, less pale and the head is obviously dark. The basic plumage of this bird is more a neutral brown without any clear rufous or reddish tinge. Structurally this bird shows a small body relative to the wingspan but the crop is bulging and hence the neck is not thin as illustrated in Panuccio et al (2006).

Call analysis (see Calls page for analysis of these calls):

In extract from video 116e at 8 seconds and 15 seconds on spectrogram. wma spectrogram .

In extract from video 116f at 4 seconds on spectrogram with fainter call 2 seconds later. wma spectrogram .

video 2006-112a  2006-112b 2006-112c 

Stills from video show:

Pale tail, inner wing and primary bases 1; Rufous plumage on upperside with purplish tinge, dark primary tips, dark bar from secondaries to primary coverts,dark body and lesser coverts: 2 3 4; Underside with dark primary tips, dark trailing edge, dark leading edge with long rectangular carpal mark, pale inner wing particularly on primary bases: 5; Deep wing beats with prominent pale patch on outer wing 6 7; Underside as before, long tail equal to wing width, small dark head: 8 9; Long pale tail: 10; Dark subterminal tail band: 11 12; Wings held high and stiff in subdued display (with subterminal tail band in some): 13 14 15 16 17; Narrow amplitude in wing action at end of display: 18 19 ; Soar on flat wings: 20 21 22; Kite-like angular wings and long tail: 23; Start of glide with long wings held slightly depressed, long tail obvious: 24 25

Allen, 8 June 2006, a female in territory, firstly in close-up fly-past at 10:35, then in subdued display, soaring and gliding at 10:38.

Three videos – 1) 112a female fly-past 1 min 15 seconds long, 4.66 MB; 2) 112b female soar and glide 4 min 23 seconds long, 10.53 MB; 3) 112c same as 112a except habitat omitted, one stop brighter and in slow motion at half speed, 2 min 16 seconds long, background sounds are distorted by the slow speed, 9.35MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 112a shows female, habitat (0-0:10), bird approaching (0:11-0:30), languid flaps down valley with plumage details (0:31-1:15). Video 112b shows same bird, gaining height (0-0:19), gliding and performing subdued display with wings raised and beaten very deliberately (0:20-0:51), soaring (0:52-1:06), gliding down again (1:07-1:15), soaring (1:16-3:05), gliding into distance (3:06-4:23). Video 112c shows bird approaching (0-0:48), languid flaps down valley with plumage details (0:49-2:16) with, as in slow motion, times roughly doubled from 112a.

Upperside plumage is not well covered in the field guides. However, the Collins Bird Guide (2001, p.91) shows an adult female with relatively dark secondaries, trailing edge, primary tips, primary coverts, scapulars and lesser coverts and relatively pale tail, bases to primaries and median and greater coverts. The dark outer secondaries and primary coverts combine to give a band across the wing. These features are as found in the female here. Forsman (1990, plate 35) shows a photograph of an adult female also with the same contrasting pattern, in effect dark except for primary bases, median and greater coverts and tail. The basic plumage of the bird here is rufous with a slight purplish tinge. The tail shows one prominent black subterminal band on the video. The underside shows dark primary tips, leading edge, trailing edge, rectangular carpal patch and body. The primary bases on the underside are strikingly pale.

The subdued display flight, long tail, long wings, small head and rufous tinge to the plumage might perhaps lead to confusion with Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus which has been reported several times each year from wooded areas of Northumberland. Although Marsh Harrier did breed historically on the white lands (rushy moors) of Northumberland, there is no indication that they ever bred in heavily wooded areas. To distinguish the two, male Marsh Harrier have completely dark primaries while Honey-buzzard have primaries which are dark on the tip and strikingly pale on the bases, giving the familiar white flash on the outer wing. Female and immature Marsh Harrier do not have dark secondaries as in Honey-buzzard; nor do they have striking pale bases to the primaries. Structurally Marsh Harrier have narrower wings than Honey-buzzard and the wings are held more obviously raised when soaring or gliding. This latter feature is not completely reliable though as Honey-buzzard raise their wings in strong winds and sometimes at the start of their soaring flight.

video 2006-103

Stills from video show: Dark wingtip and head, dark carpal, trailing edge and subterminal tail band, long extended neck, small head 2   3 Dark wingtip and head, dark carpal, trailing edge and subterminal tail band 18 Dark wingtip and head 1 Head up, cuckoo-style flight, broad inner wing pinched in at base 4   6 Classical Honey-buzzard pose with long thin tail, small head held up and extended neck 5   7   8   9   10   11  12   Neck retracted making it appear thicker, small head, long tail, pale midwing panel, wings pinched in at base 13   14   Neck very extended, small head, long tail, bowed wings 15 Classical cuckoo-like flight 16 Wings raised high in active flight, long tail, small head 17

Hexhamshire, 24 May 2006, a female in flight, heavily mobbed by corvids, followed by close-up flight from the side at 20:45.

One video – 103 female mobbed by corvids, descends to low level and is caught in low altitude fly-pass, 1 min 27 seconds long, 5.15 MB, in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 103 shows female, mobbed by Jackdaws (0-1:08) showing active flapping flight; when numbers fall the Honey-buzzard does give an agile dive at a Jackdaw (1:09-1:13); low-level active fly pass (1:14-1:27).

The low-level flight shows why confusion with Marsh Harrier occurs. The plumage with dark secondaries and dark head clearly excludes Marsh Harrier in this case.

video 2006-100a 2006-100b 2006-100c

Stills from video show: to be done.

Allen, 14 May 2006, two adults holding territory with some display; the first birds noted back in Northumberland this year. Low-level display was noted from 11:12-11:39; high-level display from 11:43-11:47.

Three videos – 1) 100a presumed male 2 min 5 seconds long, 4.42 MB; 2) 100b presumed female 8 min 38 seconds long, 19.55 MB; 3) 100c display 1 min 3 seconds long, 2.48 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 100a shows presumed male, floating bird (0-0:59), active languid flaps (1:00-1:30), another clip with gliding bird (1:30-2:05). Video 100b shows presumed female, emerging from trees (0-0:09), floating (0:10-1:24), active flapping with body tilted (1:25-1:50), floating (1:51-3:30), gliding away fast (3:31-4:25), float (4:26-5:08), glide with active flaps (5:09-5:45) with call at 5:11, active flaps (5:46-5:50), glide (5:51-6:06), float (6:07-8:05), glide away with flaps (8:06-8:30). Video 100c shows follow me display of two birds with active flaps at high altitude; third bird (0:07-0:16), slightly smaller and initially in between them, is thought to be a Common Buzzard mobbing its new neighbours.

Calls: Wave (compressed wma) wma  spectrogram jpg

Long trisyllabic call at 9 seconds (See Calls page for analysis of this call).


Devon, England 2006-2007

video 2007-260 

Stills from video 260 show: Long tail, bulging on sides at end, wings pushed forward 1   2   3 ; Small pale head, hunched neck, broad wings 4   9 ; Long tail as dipped 5 ; Body tilted upwards (cycling mode) 6 ; Soaring, pale inner wing, whitish inner tail with dark subterminal band 7 ; Gliding with midwing up slightly and tips down 8 ; Wings deeply depressed, long tail 10 ; Neck extended while looking down,small head: 11 ; Honey-buzzard on top with Common Buzzard below: 12 ; Honey-buzzard with pale underside poised to dive at Common Buzzard with wings raised 13 ; Honey-buzzard above Common Buzzard, former appearing significantly larger 14 ; Honey-buzzard coming down on top of Common Buzzard 15 ; Honey-buzzard on right showing very pale underside with small extent of black on primary tips and narrow black envelope to wings 16   17.

Devon, England, 1 August 2007, adult male first patrolling over site at 12:23, then interacting with a Common Buzzard which it sees off, before finally gliding off to feed.

One video: 4 min 18 seconds, 9.94MB; wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player; formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 260 shows an adult male in a long float over its presumed nest-site with no real flaps (0-2:14), the main movement being a characteristic tilt upwards of the body in 'cycling' mode (0:49-0:54) and a single flip of its wings (1:42). Conflict occurs with a Common Buzzard (2:15-3:12): the Honey-buzzard is on top initially and makes two dives at the Common Buzzard showing well the underside of the Honey-buzzard (2:15-2:27); the Common Buzzard then gets above the Honey-buzzard as both birds vie for height (2:28-2:50); another two clashes follow around 2:55 before the Honey-buzzard finally gets well above the Common Buzzard again and makes a final dive to see it off at 3:12. The Honey-buzzard then soars on level wings (3:13-4:05) and glides rapidly out of the area (4:06-4:16).

The video does show how Honey-buzzard are able to look after themselves in an area crowded with Common Buzzard. In such areas the Honey-buzzard arrive back when the Common Buzzard are already incubating so they need to squeeze into the gaps between Common Buzzard nests to establish a territory. Then with their young fledging in late July, the adult Common Buzzard become very protective and readily irritated by adult Honey-buzzard patrolling over their sites. This is what has happened in this case: the male Honey-buzzard floated at length over a Common Buzzard family party, eventually resulting in conflict. It also shows that even at a distance it's not difficult to separate adult male Honey-buzzard and Common Buzzard: the former has flatter wings in the soar, broader wings in most modes of flight, clearly greater size (perhaps surprisingly so in view of published statistics), longer tail and pale underwing and head with narrow dark wing edges.

video 2006-108a  2006-108b  2006-108c

Stills from video 108b show: Gliding into site, before soar, long tail: 1   2 ; Female in soar, bold white outer primaries, dark head, inner wing and primary tips, level wings: 3   4 ; also showing dark secondaries and paler mid-wing area in inner wing, pinched-in wings at base: 5   8 ; also showing small head: 6   7   9   47   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   29   30   31   32 ; also showing pale wings enveloped with dark edging, pinched in wings, subterminal tail band, tail equal to wing width in length, head appears dark in most stills: 10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   26   27   28 ; In glide showing carpal pushed well forward, long tail, primaries swept back: 33 ; In glide with wings now straight: 34 ; Pulling out of descent, long tail very obvious with wings looking narrower: 35   36 ; Male in soar, very little black on primary tips, small head, subterminal tail band, wings with dark envelope, level wings looking slightly narrower than female's: male on left 37   38   42   46 ; Male playing 'follow-me' with female in chasing role, male on left, long tail, narrowish wings: 39   40   41 ; Male on own showing above features: 43   44   45 .

Devon, England, 2-3 June 2006, adult gliding into site at 16:40 on 2 June, followed by pair soaring from 12:16-12:20 on 3 June and pair displaying from 12:21-12:24 on 3 June. Follow-me activity is shown in both soar and in display.

Three videos: 1) 108a adult gliding into site, 0 min 20 seconds, 1.11MB; 2) 108b pair soaring, 3 min 41 seconds, 9.81MB; 3) 108c pair in high altitude follow-me display, 2 min 38 seconds, 6.22MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 108a shows the bird in a long glide before descending into the site (0-0:20). Video 108b shows again a bird gliding in to the site (0-0:26), then a soar (0:33-1:26) with focus mainly on the female with the male being picked up (1:33, 1:53, 2:10, 2:19, 2:28) crossing the field of view. In the soar the birds play 'follow-me' with one bird following closely the path of the other. The female then glides off, moving to south (2:51-3:11) and another glide (3:12-3:41) then takes place for one of the birds. Video 108c shows at much higher altitude one bird circling (0:06-0:50) joined by another bird (0:51-2:30) for 'follow-me' display. Throughout the videos there is no active flight – the birds just float effortlessly – and no calls were picked up.


video 2006-109a  2006-109b  2006-109c   2006-109d

Stills from video 109b show: Long tail, long neck, small head, S-shaped trailing edge with wing pinched in at base: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14 ; Hanging with long tail and wings pushed forward 15   16   17   18   19   20   21 ; Darker long carpal area and secondaries: 22 ; Long wings, bulging secondaries, neck retracted: 23 ; Gliding in between dives, long primaries very much swept back, long tail, neck retracted: 24   25   26 ; Stalling, showing S-shaped trailing edge, long neck, small head, long tail: 27 .

Devon, England, 5 June 2006, different site to that shown in video 108, adult floating over site from 12:12-12:16, followed by an adult moving away at 12:32 and then an adult diving over site at 12:34.

Four videos: 1) 109a adult soaring, floating and gliding, 2 min 59 seconds, 7.08MB; 2) 109b adult gliding, floating and diving, 2 min 15 seconds, 6.51MB; 3) 109c adult gliding, 0 min 23 seconds, 1.85MB; 4) 109d adult floating and diving, 0 min 23 seconds, 1.23MB, all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 109a shows the bird in soar (0-0:30) followed by effortless floating (0:31-1:00) and a long glide away before returning to some extent (1:01-1:50). The bird then slowly descends (1:51-2:41). A second brief float is shown from 2:42-2:59. Video 109b shows brief interaction with Hobby (0-0:05), gliding away in shallow descent (0:06-0:22), a more decisive descent (0:23-0:53), the Hobby briefly over area again (0:54-1:07), floating (1:08-1:39) with steep dives (1:18, 1:28) and a final glide away (1:40-2:15). Video 109c is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video109b (from 0-0:23). Video 109d is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video109b (from 1:10-1:33).


Highlands, Scotland 2006

video 2006-104.5

Stills from video show: Deep wingbeats in active flight 1   4   10   13   3 (latter with dark primary tips, pale primary bases on upperside); Wings well-raised in active flight 5   2 (latter with dark primary tips); Upperside with dark primary tips, dark band from secondaries to primary coverts, dark lesser coverts 6 ; Small head on long neck, long tail with narrow base, pale primary bases, dark primary tips 7 ; Dark head, leading edge, trailing edge and subterminal tail band with small head on extended neck (Hooded Crow mobbing)   8  9 ; Head raised upwards, body tilted slightly upwards, long tail 11 ; In glide small head, long tail bulging towards terminal 12 .

Inverness, Highlands, Scotland, 28 May 2006, one adult female flying off moor, back into valley, presumably flying from feeding site, at 11:45 in the morning.

One video – 0 min 35 seconds long, 2.65MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 104.5 shows the bird being picked-up flying strongly off the moor, using a flap-glide action as in Goshawk. At 0:17 the bird is mobbed by a Hooded Crow, showing some detail of the underside plumage.


video 2006-104.7a   2006-104.7b   2006-104.7c   2006-104.7d   2006-104.7e   2006-104.7f

Stills from video show: Long tail 1   4   21   25   26   33   34   37 ; Extended neck, dark primary tips 2 Long tail, bulging towards tip, small head, carpals well forward 3   5   23   24 ; Long tail, bulging towards tip, small head, carpals well forward, narrow tail base, wings pinched in at base 27   28   29 ; Deep flaps in active flight 6 (small head)   7   8   10   12   30 ; Wings raised high in active flight 9   11   36 ; Wings held high and stiff with no bend at carpal (harrier like), long tail 31   35 ; Dark trailing edge and primary tips, ruddy brown carpal, wide subterminal tail band, body appearing pale or ruddy brown (depending on light presumably), wings pinched in at body, long tail, small head on extended neck 13 (with inner tail band)   14   16   17   18   19   20   38   39   40   41 ; Upperside, ruddy brown with dark edging to wing, dark line across wing to carpal   15 ; Wings long and tips slightly depressed in glide, carpal pushed forward 22   32 (tail twisted).

Inverness, Highlands, Scotland, 28 May 2006, one adult female flying over territory in woodland (different site to above), from 16:25-16:36 in the afternoon.

Six videos – 1) 104.7a adult in territory, 3 min 12 seconds, 7.67MB; 2) 104.7b adult in territory, 0 min 47 seconds, 2.34MB; 3) 104.7c adult in territory, 0 min 36 seconds, 1.80MB; 4) 104.7d adult in territory, 0 min 21 seconds, 1.31MB; 5) 104.7e adult in territory, 1 min 18 seconds, 3.37MB; 6) 104.7f adult in territory, 0 min 41 seconds, 2.00MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 104.7a shows the bird largely in effortless floating with a few flaps to steady itself (0-0:10) and some circling (1:32-1:58, 3:10-3:11) showing underside plumage. Video 104.7b is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104a (from 1:27-2:14). Video 104.7c is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104a (from 2:15-2:50). Video 104.7d is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104a (from 2:51-3:12). Video 104.7e shows the bird in more energetic gliding with active rapid flaps from 1:03-1:06. Video 104.7f is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104d (last 41 seconds).


video 2006-105a    2006-105b   2006-105c


Stills from video show: long tail, slightly bulging near tip 1  2  4  5 ; long wings, S shaped on trailing edge 3 ; small head, pale patch on outer primaries, extensive black at wing tip so probably female 6 ; small head, wings depressed in smooth curve in flap 7 ; wings raised in active flight 8 ; paddle-shaped wings 9 ; small head, long wings 10  11 

Inverness, Highlands, Scotland, 29 May 2006, one adult (probable female) flying up from valley onto moor, presumably to feed, from 14:28-14:29 in the afternoon.

Three videos – 1) 105a adult in flight in valley, 1 min 2 seconds long, 4.16 MB; 2) 105b adult in flight moving onto moor, 1 min 32 seconds long, 5.97 MB; 3) 105c extract from 105a, in higher quality format, 0 min 21seconds long, 1.05 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 105a shows the bird initially gliding over some pylons (0-0.10) with a few flaps as it clears them (0:11). The bird continues gliding towards the open moor throughout (0:11-1:02) with a few light active flaps at 0:14-0:15 and 0:20 seconds and a flight call at 0:32. Video 105b shows some turning from 0:01-0:13 followed by a further long glide from 0:14-1:32. The bird is flapping in distant flight around 1:20 as it hits the open moor. Video 105c is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video 105a (from 0:11-0:32). The loose, smooth wing flaps and tail twisting are emphasised here.

Calls: Wave wave  spectrogram spectrogram

Long flight call at 32 seconds on video 2006-105a, as adult flew onto moor. Spectrogram shows it is 0.22 seconds long, starting at 3.1kHz and falling to 2.6kHz with peak just after top of pitch. Long distance to bird probably meant that recorded call length is less than that of the actual call.


video 2006-106

Stills from video show: angular wings with carpal pushed well forward, tips slightly depressed, long tail 1   3   4   7   11 ; Carpal pushed forward, primaries swept back slightly, wing tips depressed 2   5 ; Carpal pushed forward, primaries swept back markedly, wing tips depressed, long tail 12 ; Angular wings with tips slightly depressed, long tail twisting in flight, broad subterminal tail-band 6 ; Long tail bulging towards terminal, carpal forward in glide 8   9 ; Long tail bulging towards terminal, tail is dark in subterminal area. carpal forward in glide 10; In dive, very elongated with long wings well swept back, long tail and small pointed head 13   14; Coming out of dive, elongated appearance with long tail and long narrow wings 15 .

Inverness, Highlands, Scotland, 30 May 2006, one adult in territory, finally flying into site, from 16:17-16:20 in the afternoon.

One video – 106 adult in territory, 3 min 28 seconds long, 8.89 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 106 first shows the bird floating around the territory with occasional hanging (0-2:30). From 2:31-2:40 there is a steep dive with wings fully closed. From 3:02-3:18 the bird is actively mobbed by a Crow which eventually forces the raptor into the trees.


video 2006-107a  2006-107b

Stills from video show: long tail, slightly bulging near tip 1   2; deep downbeat in active flight with slightly bowed wings 3   4   7   9 wings held high at top of upbeat 5 long tail evident in glide 6; wings raised in angular fashion, long tail behind, small head protruding 8 .

Aviemore, Highlands, Scotland, 1 June 2006, one adult in territory, finally flying into site, from 09:07-09:11 in the morning.

Two videos – 1) 107a adult in territory, 2 min 39 seconds long, 7.19 MB; 2) 107b extract from 107a, in higher quality format, 0 min 40 seconds long, 2.30 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 107a shows the bird floating around the territory in a moderately energetic fashion from 0-1:38. From 0:22-0:28 there is a steep dive with wings fully closed. From 1:57-2:39 the bird is flying back into the nest site with a powerful flap-glide action, reminiscent of an accipiter. This type of action is seen quite often in the display period. The wings of this bird are too long for Goshawk and the wings are held level in the glide. Video 107b is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video 107a (from last 40 seconds).


Perth and Kinross, Scotland 2006


video 2006-170a   2006-170b

Stills from video show: long tail, bulging near tip, small head on long neck, wings pinched in at base 1   3   5   8   11 ; Long tail, bulging near tip, neck retracted 2   9 (with pale base to primaries); Long tail, bulging near tip, small head on long neck, carpals pushed well forward 4   6   10 ; Bulging secondaries, broad inner wing, narrower outer wing, possible subterminal tail band 7 ; Active flight, wings depressed in smooth arch in downswing 12

Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 22 August 2006, one adult (probable male) flying across territory, at 16:36 in the afternoon. Same site as that below in video 2006-104 (but not the only site in the area!).

Two videos – 1) 170a adult flying across territory, 0 min 37 seconds long, 1.74 MB; 2) 170b, all of 170a in higher quality format, 0 min 37 seconds long, 2.22 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 170a shows the bird in flap-glide level flight moving across its territory, presumed from earlier observations towards its nest. From 0:04-0:07 the bird makes 6 flaps then glides; from 0:14-0:21 the bird is largely lost as it passes overhead; from 0:22-0:37 the bird makes four series of flap-glides, each one containing from 3-6 flaps. Video 170b is a higher quality presentation of the whole of video170a. The bird is thought to be a male on account of its long tail, slightly longer than the wing width.


video 2006-1040   2006-104a    2006-104b   2006-104c   2006-104d   2006-104e   2006-104f   2006-104g   2006-104h   2006-104i   2006-104j

Stills from video show: two tail bands, dark secondaries, dark primary tips, narrow dark long carpal patch 16;   as before but with subterminal tail band only showing 17 ; ruddy brown carpal patch, dark brown body, very angular wings 21 ; subterminal tail band, at least one further tail band, ruddy carpal, dark primary tips, brown body 22 ; upperside fairly uniform ruddy brown but with dark primary tips and pale primary bases 26   27   28 ; long narrow tail, angular carpals, swept back primaries 1   3   9   10   12; also with small head 2   11   18   19   20   23   24   25 . Vulture pose with broad wings in stall, small head, neck retracted, subterminal tail band visible 4; deep wing beats in active flapping 5; glide with carpals pushed forward, wing tips depressed, long thin tail 6   18; long narrow tail, angular carpals, swept back primaries, small carpal mark, obvious dark trailing edge 7; also with small head 8   16, also with dark subterminal band to tail 17. Wings pushed very far forward, bulging secondaries, long narrow slightly bulging tail, small head 13   14   15   32   33 . Wings outstretched, long neck, small head, long thin tail 29 . Neck retracted 30   34   35 . Agile pose with tail twisting and carpal pushed very well forward 31 .

Dunkeld, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, 27 May 2006, one adult female patrolling territory from 14:30-15:24 in the afternoon.

11 videos – 0) 104o adult female rising up from trees nearby, 1 min 2 secs, 6.07 MB; 1) 104a adult floating over area, 3 min 18 seconds long, 8.81 MB; 2) 104b adult in territory, 3 min 2 seconds long, 7.65 MB; 3) 104c extract from 104b, in higher quality format, 0 min 45seconds long, 2.88 MB; 4) 104d adult in territory, 3 min 20 seconds long, 7.43 MB; 5) 104e extract from 104d, in higher quality format, 0 min 48 seconds long, 2.41 MB; 6) 104f adult in territory, 2 min 15 seconds long, 5.79 MB; 7) 104g adult in territory, 1 min 43 seconds long, 4.35 MB; 8) 104h adult in territory, 2 min 8 seconds long, 5.96 MB; 9) 104i adult in territory, 4 min 40 seconds long, 12.11 MB; 10) 104j extract from 104i, in higher quality format, 1 min 9 seconds long, 4.26 MB; all in wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video 104o shows, in higher quality mode, an adult female rising out of the trees at close range and moving away. Video 104a shows the bird initially floating at great height (0-1:21) followed by a fast glide (1:22-1:30) and then more floating (1:31-2:13). The bird then goes into a rising and falling mode typical of display with much flapping at 2:55-3:03; during this phase the bird holds its body tilted slightly upwards, a characteristic feature of Honey-buzzards in display. Another fast glide occurs from 3:01-3:18. Video 104b shows some floating at high altitude (0-0:15), a glide from 0:16-0:40, then floating from 0:41-2:10 with flaps at 1:10, fast glide from 1:20-1:37 and characteristic flaps at 1:42 and 2:02-2:10. There is a glide from 2:11-2:28, then turning and hanging in the wind several times from 2:29-3:02. Video 104c is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104b (from the closing 45 seconds). Video 104d shows more floating and hanging with a very little flapping at 1:42 and 2:10. From 2:30-3:00 the bird again tilts its body upwards. Video 104e is a higher quality reproduction of the start and end of 104d, combining about 24 secs from each. Video 104f shows more floating and hanging with brief flaps while hanging at 0:44, 1:07 and 1:58. Video 104g shows more floating and hanging with a glide (0:55-1:17) and flaps while hanging (1:22-1:27). The Honey-buzzard is mobbed by a Carrion Crow (0:20-0:22); the crow looks significantly smaller than the raptor. Video 104h shows yet more floating and hanging, initially over trees (0-0:30). There is a swift dive from 1:55-2:05 followed by flapping towards cover. Video 104i shows soaring (0-0:30), a glide (0:31-1:07), soar (1:08-2:40), glide (2:41-3:50), stalled with vulture pose and flapping (3:59-4:04),. continued glide passing right overhead (4:05-4:29) and going away (4:30-4:40). Video 104j is a higher quality presentation of an extract from the video104i (from the closing 69 seconds).


Note: Honey-buzzards often show their kite-like affinities when gliding or floating. See 2006-104.2 for a video of a Red Kite taken in the Inverness area on 28 May 2006 (4.20MB, 0:50 seconds). While the forked tail makes identification obvious in this case, note the similarities in the effortless floating, the wing angle in gliding and in the tendency to tilt the body upwards in forward movement. Another video 2006-106.1, taken in the Inverness area on 30 May 2006 (4.00MB, 1 min 20 seconds), also shows that confusion can occur at long range between Honey-buzzard and Red Kite, though again the difference is obvious at close range.



Northumberland, England 2005

video 2005-24

Stills from video show: Flat wings in glide 1; Glide with wings slightly bowed: 2; Glide, long narrow tail: 3 4; Glide, long narrow tail, carpal pushed well forward 5 6 9; Mobbing by corvids 7 8; Wings raised high in flapping 10 12 13 14 15 19 24; Wings deeply bowed on downstroke 11 16 18 23; Wings almost level, long tail 20; Long tail, long neck, protruding head 21 22; Plumage showing on raised wing catching light, extensive dark area on outer primaries, narrow pale area on outer wing, dark inner wing including secondaries 17.

South Tyne 21 September 2005, juvenile landing in tree while being heavily mobbed by corvids, then flying off some distance to south at 14:45. Not yet a migrant, one of two juveniles raised at this site.

Video is 2 min 20 seconds long, 7.35 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: view over South Tyne (0-10 secs), efforts to capture bird gliding into trees (0:11-0:45), intense mobbing by corvids (0:46-1:15), more scenery (1:16-1:20) and energetic active flight trying to shake off corvids (1:21-2:20).

Juvenile long call given on take off from trees at about 1:23: compressed audio spectrogram ; possible further short piping call 1:41.

video 2005-20

Stills from video show: Convex long tail with narrow base, small head 1 9 10 11 12 16 18; As before but also with bulging secondaries 2 6 7 8 15; Small head, long neck, long wings 3: Long thin tail, long neck, peering down 5; Vulture pose, wings pressed forward, small head, spread tail 13; Pale underside to wing and body, pale head, small dark rectangular carpal, dark extreme primary tips and dark trailing edge 4 14 17. It is interesting how this pale bird appears to be dark on the underside except when banking. The flatness of the wings in Honey-buzzard flight makes the underside more difficult to see than in Common Buzzard with its raised wings. In only two poses is the long neck visible; the neck is as usual retracted when soaring.

Eals, South Tyne 6 September 2005, adult male gaining height quickly by soaring before gliding south at 11:05 on a fine morning. The final glide S at great altitude was not recorded on the video.

Video is 1 min 33 seconds long, 4.51 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: view over Eals to Towsbank (0-10 secs), effortless soaring by Honey-buzzard on flat wings (0:11-1:12), bird temporarily lost to view (1:12-1:24) and view over Softley (1:24-1:33).

video 2005-15

Stills from video show: Wings raised 1 2 5 9 28 29 ; smoothly arched depressed wings 3 20 ; Long tail, small head, long neck, pinched in secondaries near body 30 9 7 21 22 26 ; Long tail, broad wings, pinched in secondaries near body 25 36 ; Deeply depressed downbeat, long tail 27 31 ; Deeply depressed downbeat 6 8 12 ; Very small head, extended neck 10 11 ; Small head, long neck, broad wings 13 18 ; Level wings with very slight, if any, primary upturn 14 16 32 37 38 39 40 41 42 ; Wings pressed well forward, small head, long neck, slightly folded tail 33 ; Wings pressed well forward, small head, long neck, bulging tail with narrow base 15 17 34 35 ; Kite-like appearance 10 23 24 .

Hexhamshire 23 July 2005, visit to nest site around 12 noon followed by finding adult male returning from feeding area to nesting territory at 12:30 on a cool day with grey skies after rain. Same site as video 2005-1.

Video is 5 min 27 seconds long, 15.65 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very, very long with narrow band.

Video shows: area below nest with 'splash' and nest itself which is a large platform resting on a bough in a Scots Pine tree. There is considerable white feather down on the sides of the nest (0-1:13). Subsequent sighting is of an adult male coming off a wooded lane, gaining height rather urgently and gliding back towards the nest site. In more detail: initial glimpses of bird (1:14-1:25), start of soar with some prospecting for the ideal spot and a rather skittish manoeuvre (1:25-2:10), two long flight calls at 1:47 and 1:53, faint on video but quite loud in field, rapid soar with quite frequent flaps to gain height in dull conditions (2:11-4:50), start of glide (4:50-5:03), bird being lost to view (5:03-5:27). This bird is thought to be a male on its complete set of feathers. Females would be in moult now while males have a more limited moult starting in August. This bird's soar was more energetic than some. It seemed to be in a hurry and the weather conditions were dull so thermals were not readily available. Note the odd insect mobbing the microphone to confirm the insect richness of the area (2:32, 2:50 for instance). Also of interest is this bird's relatively shallow flaps in the climb compared to some but the style in such action is more accipiter without the stiffness of buteo.

The calls are available separately as compressed audio.. The spectrogram is not shown as the calls are too faint. However, the first call appears to be trisyllabic, about 0.8 seconds long, peaks in the pitch at 2.6kHz and in the intensity just following the point of highest pitch. The second appears to be shorter and disyllabic.

video 2005-14

Stills from video show: Bulging secondaries, slightly fanned tail giving relatively compact appearance. Small head is barely visible. Wings are uniformly broad with blunt tip in this floating pose. 1 2 3 5 ;   Wings are almost level but primaries are slightly and smoothly upturned at tip. 4 ;   Wings flat on primaries, slightly upturned at body. 6 ;   Tail looking slightly longer as bird starts to glide 7 ;   Small head showing as bird stalls, broad wings, approaching 'vulture' pose 8 ;   Small protruding head and broad wings 9 ;   Long tail in glide, wings sept back and level 10 ;   Long tail with bulge outwards towards tip in glide, wings sept back and level, small protruding head, carpal well forward 11 ;   Long tail in glide, wing tips slightly depressed, 12 13 15 ;   Classical Honey-buzzard pose with long thin tail with rounded corners, long neck, small protruding head, carpal pushed well forward. 14 18 ;   Broad wings, thin tail, small protruding head 16 17 19 ;  

Hexhamshire 4 July 2005, near wood with presumed nest site at 14:55; adult returning from feeding area to nesting territory on a warm rather cloudy day. This is a different site to that for videos 2005-15, 2005-1, 2005-1a, 2005-0.

Video is 2 min 57 seconds long, 7.15 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: floating bird, circling to gain height (0-1:19), a gentle glide (1:20-1:50), further floating (1:51-2:20) and a faster glide into the wood where presumed to be nesting (2:21-2:57). This bird is thought to be a male on its complete set of feathers. Females would be in moult now while males have a more limited moult starting in August. This bird's floating action was effortless with no active flaps in almost 3 minutes. The bird gives a short soft piping call at 0:36.

The call is available separately at compressed wma. The spectrogram is shown at jpeg (9 seconds point). The soft pipe call is thin (one harmonic), fairly flat in the range 2.1-2.3kHz and lasts about 0.2 seconds.

video 2005-10

Stills from video show: First bird seen briefly at start. This bird is not obviously missing any primary feathers but it is difficult to be sure 1; Second bird, initially floating at high altitude, long tail, bulging secondaries 2; Long power glide emphasising long tail and small head. Outer wings are pressed tightly backwards parallel to body 3 4 5 6 7; Stalled with tail largely closed, tail looking long, bulging on sides, angular wings rather like in kites 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ; Stalled with tail fanned, wings pushed well forward, almost headless, vulture pose 17 18 19; Stalled and looking around with small head and long neck 20 21; Stalled with swept back outer wings 36; Floating, small protruding head, long neck, long tail with narrow base, bulging secondaries, wing pinched in at base 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 34 35; As before but with wings pushed well forward 31 32; Using tail as a rudder, twisting action 30; Bird much lower, showing on its left wing that missing primary feather is most likely P3 and that an inner secondary is also missing 33; While peering around from side to side, shows very obvious small head and long neck 37 38

South Tyne 18 June 2005, adult female and (briefly possibly) another Honey-buzzard over nesting territory at 15:30 on a fair afternoon.

Video is 8 min 34 seconds long, 26.63 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very, very long with narrow band.

Video shows: bird flushed from nest site (thought to be different to bird seen at length subsequently as no middle primary missing) (0-0:06 secs), female with missing P3 up (0:06-8:34) with glide (1:35-2:08), stall (2:08-6:20, including vulture pose 5:57-6:02), floating at relatively low level (6:20-8:05) and drifting back to nest (8:05-8:34). This bird is thought to be a female on unrelenting dark appearance including head. Feather P3 is missing on the female's left wing: all primaries on right wing are intact and to moult P3 by mid-June would be extremely advanced so this may well be feather loss rather than moult. An inner secondary missing may have been moulted though as this is more normal sequence, it is believed. This bird was floating for over ten minutes without a single flap (minor adjustment around 8:05). Note the minute adjustment to the feathers as the bird maintains a steady position. Also note the variety of poses, particularly with respect to the neck, tail and wings. Not once though does the bird raise its wings during the whole video.

video 2005-2

Stills from video show: High raising of wings in active flight 1 2 5 6 14 15 19 with pale outer wing 4 20 or with pale patch on underside 9 10; Deep triangular shape of wings in downstroke 3 13 17; Deep bowed shape of wings in downstroke 7 16 18; Flattish wings in soar with very slight raising of wing while banking, long wings in relation to body size 8 11; Momentarily greater raising of wings when rocked by gust of wind 21; Small head 16; Broad inner wing with bulging secondaries, long thin tail 12 .

Allen 7 June 2005, rather restrained display flight by adult at around 10:50 in the morning.

Video is 4 min 10 seconds long, 11.04 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: low-level direct flapping flight (0-35 secs); initial soar (35-50 secs), floating flight (50-1:53), flaps and steep upward climb (1:54-1:59), floating flight (2:00-2:46), active flapping flight with trisyllabic flight call (2:47), floating flight (2:50-3:48) interspersed by flaps (3:10), more flaps and flight calls (3:35-3:42) and start of dive from sudden gust of wind (3:49-4:10).

The calls are available separately as compressed audio with an analysis as a spectrogram. The spectrogram shows a typical trisyllabic call (2:47 in the sequence above, 0.9 seconds long, weak upstroke, peaking at 2.6kHz max, down to 1.9kHz, inflexion on downstroke), another trisyllabic call (3:35 in the sequence above, 0.6 seconds long, peaking at 2.8kHz, down to 2.2kHz, inflexion on downstroke), a final weaker trisyllabic call. (3:40 in the sequence above).

Further calls (also accessible from Calls pages, with more detail in some cases) taken the same morning:

Honey-buzzard flight call   wave  spectrogram Typical thin plaintive flight call, 0.9 seconds long, peaks at 2.9kHz, declines to 2.1kHz with very slight inflexion. This call is basically disyllabic but with a long downward section and, as usual, emphasis on the downstroke.

Honey-buzzard wailing calls. These were given from the trees where the birds went on to nest. It is presumed the calls were associated with nest building and/or mating:. Here are shown 6 calls, single harmonic fairly flat from 1.2kHz minimum to 1.4kHz maximum, each element lasts 0.6 seconds with the whole sequence lasting 7 seconds wave spectrogram

Interesting features in this video are the active flight with high amplitude in the wing beats, the trisyllabic calls, the flattish wings in the soar and the long periods of effortless floating. The deep bowed wings at the bottom of the downstroke appear to be very characteristic of Honey-buzzards in active flight. As is usual in soaring and floating flight, the neck is retracted.

A further video, for Common Buzzard, was taken the same morning (4.11MB, 1 minute 29 seconds long). This bird was frequently calling (see below). It shows stiff wingbeats with low amplitude, a short tail, wings looking relatively short in relation to body, wings generally raised when soaring and an overall compact appearance. Common Buzzards are generally more ungainly in the air than Honey-buzzards. The apparent lack of moult in this bird suggests that it is an adult male or first-summer, not an adult female.

Common Buzzard flight call from same morning, adult wave spectrogram . Note multiple harmonics, shorter downstroke (more even to upstroke) and greater intensity throughout.

video 2005-1

Stills from video show: Long thin tail 1 2 3 4 Small head and long neck 5 6 7 Long thin tail, small head, apparent moulting of secondary 8 9 10 11 Long neck, traces of inner tail band 12 Long carpal, dark trailing edge, inner tail band 13 Underwing with coarse markings 14

Photograph of nest in 2005 with digital camera

Hexhamshire 12 June 2005, visit to nest site, adult in attendance. Thought to be female on relatively strong barring shown in underwing, as seen through binoculars. Total visit lasted from 19:29-19:58 (29 minutes). Not one call was heard during the visit. Birds sitting on completed clutches often sit very tight: this one may have had a partial clutch (one egg) . It is not unusual for pairs to be laying this late in Northumberland, leading to fledging in late August or even early September. Different site to 2005-0.

Video is 4 min 3 seconds long, 15.43 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: last year's nest in Scots Pine (0-19 secs); this year's nest in Scots Pine (20-1:08); adult, seen through canopy 0:27, 1:27-1:46, 2:08-2:15, 2:30-2:32, 2:38-2:44, 3:10-3:25, 3:33 (and possibly others); adult returning to nest, seen from outside of wood (3:46-4:00).

Besides the structural features highlighted in the photographs, the flexible wingbeats can be seen at several points. Also note that in the straight-line flights at low altitude over the site, the neck is extended as usual. However, in soaring flight as shown elsewhere on this site, the neck is retracted. In the recent article by Pete Combridge (Birdwatch, no 156, June 2005, p.30-33) the photograph of soaring Honey-buzzards in Israel on p.32 shows nine birds, all with retracted necks. A discussion of the variety of ways in which Honey-buzzards appear in flight may be found at Honey-buzzard Jizz

Further footage of Honey-buzzards in active flight in Britain has been supplied by Andrew Rowlands from Wales. Some discussion of the three clips occurred on Bird Forum 25667. Some video taken in France is also available from Carnyx. A Swedish raptor group provide a video and flight calls at BIVRÅKEN I DALSLAND.A video of European raptors by Oddie and Doherty shows Honey-buzzards on migration over Israel and Greece in very good light conditions. The characteristic active flight is shown right at the end of the section (44:13-47:20) on Honey-buzzards. The comment right at the start of the video that “the essential part in raptor identification is placing it in the right family” is very apt. Honey-buzzards are much closer to kites than to buzzards and once the kite-like features of a medium-sized raptor have been detected, there is no point in considering further Common Buzzard.

video 2005-1a

Stills from video show: Flat, long wings in float: 1 2 6 7 ; Underside plumage showing largely pale underwing, oblong dark carpal, clean dark trailing edge and wingtip: 3 4 5 ; Primaries slightly depressed in glide: 8 ; Broad wings, bulging secondaries: 9 ; Wings raised high in active flight: 10 12 ; Wings raised high in active flight, broad wings with bulging secondaries: 15 16 20 ; Wings deeply bowed in active flight: 11 ; Wings deeply bowed in active flight, triangular shape, long tail: 13 17 18 ; Wings deeply bowed in active flight, triangular shape: 14 19 .

Hexhamshire 12 June 2005, adult male over same site as 2005-1, at 18:50-19:00. Weather improving after heavy showers.

Video is 7 min 11 seconds long, 21.48 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very, very long with narrow band.

Video shows: another floater as in 2005-10 above. Attempts to pick bird up (0-0:20 secs), initial soar in open (0:21-1:37), floating on edge of trees (1:38-2:22), lost to view temporarily (2:23-2:48), floating over house showing underside three times (2:49-3:55), gliding followed by further soar (3:56-4:30), further soar (4:30-4:50), 4:50-5:10 limited glide picking up speed (5:11-5:21), bird lost temporarily (5:22-5:30), brief glimpse of gliding bird ((5:31-5:32), lost behind trees ((5:33-6:00), accipiter like flight with powerful glide and intermittent bursts of flaps (6:01-6:29), full flaps in active flight (6:30-6:53), bird lost to view (6:54-7:11). Underside plumage indicates an adult male. Not once does the bird raise its wings or flap during the initial float/soar lasting almost 5 minutes, in spite of it being in the evening when thermals would be much reduced. The active flight near the end of this video is very characteristic of Honey-buzzard.

video 2005-0

Stills from video show: Large size in relation to crow, paddle-shaped wings, long tail, small head 1; Large size in relation to crow, deep beats on downstroke with bowed wings 5 6 7 ; Deep wings on downbeat, cuckoo-like pose 3; Long tail, small head, level wings 2; Long tail, swept-back wings 4..

Hexhamshire 19 May 2005, habitat shot followed by mobbing of a Honey-buzzard in flight by Carrion Crow at around 12:10 in the morning on a breezy day. Different site to 2005-1. In the field this bird appeared grey-brown, hence a male.

Video is 0 min 57 seconds long, 3.43 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: typical nesting habitat with mature conifers (0-34 secs), in flight mobbed by Carrion Crow Corvus corone (35-57 secs), short piping call in flight (53 secs).

The single short call in flight is available separately as compressed audio with an analysis as a spectrogram. The spectrogram shows a monosyllabic (flat) short call lasting about 0.20 secs at about 2.6kHz. This is called the short single pipe call.

video 2005-0a

Stills from video show: Flat wings, secondaries well-fanned 1 4; Broad paddle-shaped flat wings pushed slightly forward, thin tail 2 3.

Hexhamshire 18 May 2005, high circling by a Honey-buzzard adult at 10:15 on fine spring day with light winds. This is the most common 'display' noted. Same site as 2005-0 but different from 2005-1. The effortless float on flat wings is characteristic as is the tendency to just disappear out of view behind foliage. While it may be thought that Honey-buzzards are very difficult to identify when the characteristic flapping action is not shown, such extended floating is a distinctive feature of the species. Another video (2005-10) shows one floating for roughly ten minutes without a single real flap.

Video is 1 min 43 seconds long, 3.99 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player and others such as Real Player, formatted for broadband. Transfer time will be very long with narrow band.

Video shows: zooming in and following high-circling bird before it disappears behind trees (0-41 secs), repeated shortly after as bird appears again (0:42-1:34); bird drifts off prior to descent (1:35-1:43). No calls were heard.

Northumberland, England 2004

video 2004-1

Stills from video 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

South Tyne 24 September 2004, juvenile

Video is 32 seconds long, 1.21 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player; unless on a fast line, better to right-click on url, save target as file on own computer and double left-click on saved file.

This bird is of the commonest juvenile morph:, that with a uniform warm brown colour (Forsman, 1999, plate 15). Comments on video are available here

video 2004-2

Stills from video 0.5 0.6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Allen 18 September 2004, mainly juveniles in a post-breeding concentration.

Video is 77 seconds long, 3.82 MB, .wmv format, playable by Windows Media Player; unless on a fast line, better to right-click on url, save target as file on own computer and double left-click on saved file.

Comments on video are available here . A comparison can be made with the video of a Common Buzzard taken the same day (one hour earlier) in the same area (2.04MB, 27 seconds). This shows the raised wings of the Common Buzzard when soaring, its short tail and generally more compact appearance. This bird called frequently.

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