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Oriental Honey Buzzard - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Crested Honey Buzzard

Includes: Sunda Honeybuzzard

Subspecies P. p. torquatus
Photo © by the late Laurence Poh
near Ipoh, Malaysia
Pernis ptilorhynchus


52–68 cm (20½-26¾ in)
The male has a blue-grey head, while the female's head is brown. She is slightly larger and darker than the male. The male has a black tail with a white band, whilst the female resembles female European Honey Buzzard.

Similar Species

Subspecies P. p. ruficollis
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dist. Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, 20 December 2017

Not easy to distinguish from European Honey Buzzard, which overlap in the Middle East[1].


Siberia east to Japan and south to Indonesia and The Philippines. Northern populations are migratory


Considered conspecific with European Honey Buzzard by some authors.

Reference [4] notes that differences in DNA and morphology support a split into 2 species: "Oriental Honeybuzzard" (strict sense), P. orientalis, from subspecies orientalis, philippensis and ruficollis; and "Sunda Honeybuzzard", P. ptilorhynchus from palawanensis, ptilorhynchus and torquatus.


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • P. p. orientalis: "Oriental Honeybuzzard". South Siberia to Manchuria and Japan; winters to Greater Sundas
  • P. p. ruficollis: "Oriental Honeybuzzard". India and Sri Lanka to Myanmar and extreme south west China
  • P. p. philippensis: "Oriental Honeybuzzard". North and east Philippine Islands
  • P. p. palawanensis: "Sunda Honeybuzzard". South Philippines (Palawan and Calauit)
  • P. p. torquatus: "Sunda Honeybuzzard". Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo
  • P. p. ptilorhynchus: "Sunda Honeybuzzard" Java


Subspecies P. p. orientalis : Migrating female
Photo © by stoop
Yamamoto Mountain, Ojiya, Niigata, Japan, September 2011

A variety of woodland, with a preference for broadleafed trees.



It is a specialist feeder, living mainly on the larvae and nests of wasps, although it will take other small prey.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Jan 2018)
  3. Birdforum thread discussing separating this species from Eurasian Honey Buzzard
  4. Eaton, JA, B van Balen, NW Brickle, FE Rheindt 2021. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago (Greater Sundas and Wallacea), Second Edition. Lynx Editions. ISBN978-84-16728-44-2

External Links

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