Oriental Honey Buzzard

Oriental Honey Buzzard  Pernis ptilorhynchus


  • Pernis : Greek word for “Hawk Like”
  • Ptilorhynchus : Greek Word ptilon feather; rhunkhos bill {Beak covered with Feathers}

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Shahutela, Madkare, Pun: Makhi tissa, Russi tisa, Nepal: Madhava, Guj: Madhiyo, Madhiyo baj, Ta: Ten parundu, Te: Tena gaddu, Yerkali: Iutalu, Mal: Katta parantha, Ten kotichi, Kan: Jen alawa, Sinh: Rajaliya, Mar: Madhubaz

Distribution in India: Widespread resident across India except some parts of North West.

Description: Size of 57-60 cm. Tail long and broad, narrow neck, short head and bill and a short bare tarsi. Various plumages occur ,the underpart can vary from Dark brown to rufous to white but always unstreaked and is always barred .It has a small crest .It has a dark moustachial stripe and a gular stripe. Male has two black tail bands, three black underwing bands, grey face and brown Iris. Male has three black tail bands, four black underwing bands, browner face and upper parts and yellow Iris.

Habitat: It is found in wooded areas, preferring broad-leaved trees, dense forests, open wooded areas or mixed woodland and open areas, the latter especially during migration.

Food Habits: As name suggests it eats mainly social bees and wasps, in particular their larvae, also eating bits of comb and honey; feeds on nests in tree-holes and similarly on those hanging from branches, and digs in ground to expose nests and larvae. Also takes other insects, e.g. crickets, flying termites and ants; occasionally vertebrates, including lizards, frogs, small mammals and birds. Spends long periods scanning for insects from perch and then follows them to their nest. Morphological adaptations for feeding on stinging insects, extracting larvae from combs and digging out nests in ground include scale-like feathers around eyes, long cere, slit-like nares, thin bill with hooked tip, and long digits on feet.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Feb- June. Nests are made mainly in broad-leaved trees, but also in conifers and even coconut palms; sometimes at considerable height, up to 28 m above ground. Nest built in fork of tree; platform of twigs lined with green leaves and other light material. The nest is built by both adults. Two-three eggs are laid and incubation is over 28–35 days, by both adults. Both also feed chicks. Chicks fledge 35–45 day and attain independence 5–8 weeks after fledging. Chicks are fed bee larvae and honeycombs. Siblicide is a common occurrence when there are more than two chicks