Honey buzzard

Pernis apivorus

Honey buzzard, photo: Arne Ader

A predator with a very variable plumage and a small, slim head; their wings are wider near the elbow than at the top. The adult male is greyish on the top with a dark rear edge of the wing; the female bird is brownish. The tail is tall, with a dark tip and two dark stripes on the root; they have yellow eyes. They are about the same size as ravens and slenderer than common buzzards. The honey buzzard got its Estonian name (‘wasp buzzard’) from its main prey – wasps. They mostly eat larva, not imagoes. To catch its prey, they have mastered running on the ground at a high speed, as most birds of prey are quite clumsy on the ground. They can chase wasps both by flying and running between the shrubs until they reach the nest. Under protection (protection category III).