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LEXICON

 

 

Oriental Honey Buzzard

Common name for a diurnal bird of prey, which is also commonly known as Crested Honey Buzzard, and with the scientific designation Pernis ptilorhyncus. There are several subspecies and the colour and pattern of its plumage varies extraordinarily across its range, though all are generally greyish-brown above, the colour of the under body ranges from cream to blackish-brown and tends to be either blotched, mottled or streaked. These birds appear long-necked and have a rather small, bluish-grey head, that somewhat resembles that of a pigeon. The length of the feathers on the hindcrown varies considerably, with some subspecies having a distinct crest. This raptor soars on flat wings and has six so-called fingers on the tip of its wings. The Oriental Honey Buzzard gets its name from the fact that if feeds mainly on the combs, larvae, pupae and adults of social bees, hornets and wasps, although it will take other prey too, such as cicadas, reptiles, frogs, small mammals, and young or injured birds. To protect themselves from the stings of the bees, wasps and hornets they prey on, all honey buzzards typically have scale-like feathers around the eyes and forehead, which serve as a shield. In Thai, it is called yih-ao pheung (เหยี่ยวผึ้ง), i.e. ‘bee hawk’.