Fun Crested Honey Buzzard Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 19, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Crested Honey Buzzard Fact File
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

The crested honey buzzard is a species of raptor that belongs to the genus Pernis. It is derived from the Greek word 'pernes', first used by the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle for the identification of a bird of prey. These birds are known to migrate twice a year, during the spring and the autumn. Although, the birds belonging to the southern population are resident species. They are classified into six subspecies based on their appearance and geographic distribution. Their usual diet consists of a large variety of insects, vertebrates, and bees. They have lighter plumage along with larger wings than the European honey buzzard.

Their breeding season usually occurs during the summer months in mid-May and may differ based on the availability of food. They build their nests using twigs and leaves on the branches of trees. After mating with the males, the female of the species lays around two eggs. Crested honey buzzard eggs are incubated by both parents for a span of 28-35 days. The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has listed the oriental honey buzzard as species of Least Concern. However, they are vulnerable to change in the wind movements that affect their migration range and routes over the East China Sea.

If you like reading this article, you could also check out information on saker falcon and red backed shrike!

Crested Honey Buzzard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crested honey buzzard?

A crested honey buzzard is species of bird belonging to the Accipitridae family. It belongs to the phylum Chordata and consists of six subspecies.

What class of animal does a crested honey buzzard belong to?

The crested honey buzzard, also known as oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus), belongs to the class Aves.

How many crested honey buzzards are there in the world?

Unfortunately, the exact number of individuals present in the world is not known. However, these birds have a stable population trend.

Where does a crested honey buzzard live?

Their northern populations are known to be migrant species, while the birds in the south are resident species. The crested honey buzzard range extends from central Siberia and Sakhalin in the north to Japan, China, and Korea in the northeast. The crested honey buzzard distribution range also covers areas of India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. Their wintering grounds include southeast Asia along with Greater and Lesser Sundas, Philippines, and Sangihe. Unlike the honey buzzard that is found in various parts of Europe like Wales, England, and Scotland in the United Kingdom, the oriental honey buzzard is only found in Asia and some parts of Africa.

What is a crested honey buzzard's habitat?

The crested honey buzzard habitat mainly includes woodland and hilly areas. The woodland comprises broad-leafed trees forming a dense canopy. Their distribution is also found in mixed forests, cultivated areas, and lowlands. These birds are common up to an elevation of 4921.2-9842.5 ft (1500-3000 m) from sea level.

Who do crested honey buzzards live with?

These birds are known to form large flocks during migration. A flock of migrating raptors, commonly known as a kettle, consists of around 1000 individuals.

How long does a crested honey buzzard live?

The exact lifespan of a crested or oriental honey buzzard is not known. However, it can be assumed that these birds live up to 10-30 years like other birds of prey.

How do they reproduce?

There is information that the breeding season occurs during the summer months in mid-May. They build their nests at an elevation on conifers or broadleaf trees during the breeding season. After mating, the crested honey buzzard female lays around two eggs, and both the parents incubate the eggs for 28-35 days. The crested honey buzzard male is also involved in parental care, which includes feeding the chicks. The chicks become independent after a span of five to eight weeks from hatching.

What is their conservation status?

As per reports from the conservation organization International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List has listed the oriental honey buzzard as species of Least Concern as they are quite common. However, the frequent destruction of habitat and climate change are two of the main threats encountered by this species.

Crested Honey Buzzard Fun Facts

What do crested honey buzzards look like?

These birds exhibit sexual dimorphism as the females are slightly larger and darker than the males. Crested honey buzzard appearance also varies among its subspecies which plays a significant role in their identification. Their common features include a black tail, a small head similar to that of a pigeon, and a short crest. Although, some of the subspecies are without a crest. Crested honey buzzard wingspan is around 45.2-61 in (115-155 cm) in length. Crested honey buzzard feathers are slightly larger than their western counterpart, the European honey buzzard, which is 20-24 in (52-60 cm) in length. The long tail of the male bird is usually black with a white band. It also has a distinguishable blue-gray head, while that of the female is brown in color. Unlike other raptors like the hawk and eagle, their facial structure lacks the presence of a supraorbital ridge. They also have six long digits on their feet and a sharp bill.

The oriental honey buzzard's head resembles the description of the head of a pigeon.

How cute are they?

Their cuteness usually stems from their appearance. The presence of a short head, crest, dark plumage, and black tail make them cute.

How do they communicate?

The oriental honey buzzard communicates through a range of vocalizations. It emits a monosyllabic high pitched whistling sound that is described as a 'wheew' or a series of 'pee-u' or 'whi-whe-uho'. Its clear eyesight and strong olfactory sense also help in perceiving the surrounding.

How big is a crested honey buzzard?

These birds are around 20.4-26.7 in (52-68 cm) long. They are slightly bigger in length than the common buzzard, a bird of prey belonging to the same family, which is 15-23 in (40-58 cm) in length.

How fast can a crested honey buzzard fly?

Information on the exact speed of this species during flight is not known. However, they fly at a slow pace by outstretching their broad wings and cover long distances during migration. They are also known to hover for a long duration of time.

How much does a crested honey buzzard weigh?

The crested or oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus) weighs around 1.6-2.8 lb (750-1280 g). It is heavier than the swallow tailed kite, which is 0.7-1.3 lb (310-600 g) in weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

In general, the male and female species are commonly referred to as male oriental honey buzzard and female oriental honey buzzard, respectively.

What would you call a baby crested honey buzzard?

A crested honey buzzard baby is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

The crested honey buzzard diet mainly includes social bees, wasps, and their larvae. These birds are also known to hunt and prey on other insects like ants, crickets, and termites. As their name suggests, they occasionally feed on honey and honeycombs. They also eat vertebrates like frogs, lizards, and small mammals. The presence of a thin bill, long feet, and strong olfactory senses assist in preying on insects and extracting larvae from combs. Moreover, the presence of small scale-like feathers around their eyes with curved barbules prevents stings from reaching the epidermis. Young is mostly fed with bee larvae, wasps, and frogs.

Are they poisonous?

No, this species is not considered to be poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

There have been no records of keeping this species as pets.

Did you know...

These birds belong to the order Accipitriformes. It is a Latin word, 'accipitri', which means hawk, and 'formes', meaning in the form of. The order Accipitriformes includes most of the birds of prey.

The coloration of the plumage of an oriental honey buzzard is similar to that of the Nisaetus hawk eagles. The hawk eagles are less vulnerable to predation because of their stronger bills. Hence, this similarity in appearance is a unique adaptation to avoid predation by large raptors.

How did the crested honey buzzard get its name?

These birds are named after the presence of a distinct crest on their head. Although, a few of the subspecies lack one. As their name suggests, crested honey buzzard eating honey, bee, and parts of honeycombs is not an uncommon sight either.

Are crested honey buzzards endangered?

No, these birds are not considered to be endangered because of their stable trend in population. However, climate change, due to global warming, influences the pattern of wind movements. Thus, changes in the wind movement have adversely affected their migration routes over the East China Sea. There is information that the destruction of habitat also accounts for the threat encountered by them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our northern gannet facts and flycatcher facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Antillean crested hummingbird coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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