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Oriental Honey Buzzard - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Crested Honey Buzzard

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.

Six subspecies are recognised:

  • orientalis breeds in eastern Siberia and winters in Burma and China
  • ruficollis breeds in India, Burma and southern China
  • torquatus from Thailand to Sumatra and Borneo
  • nominate race in Java
  • palawanensis on Palawan
  • philippensis in the Philippines.


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

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