Oriental Honey Buzzard

Oriental Honey Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Widely distributed in Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Phillippines and Indonesia, the Oriental Honey Buzzard belongs to the family of Accipitridae.This species is also known as Crested Honey Buzzard. ”Moubaj” is what it is referred to as in Bengali.


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Oriental Honey Buzzard at central park | morph : orientalis



Where could you find the Oriental Honey Buzzard in Kolkata?

Due to increasing population, degradation of habitats, deforestation it is difficult to spot an Oriental Honey Buzzard in a metropolitan city such as Kolkata. Still, you could look out for the bird in Central Park, Santragachi Jheel, and in Shyamkhola in Narendrapur

When should you photograph the Oriental Honey Buzzard?

Early morning and afternoon are great to capture the various movements of the Oriental Honey Buzzard through your lenses. Usually it is difficult to get close to a raptor as they have a very strong eyesight; hence be patient and careful. Unlike, other raptors they have a pigeon like head which might help you to identify the bird if you are a first time bird-watcher.

Photographing the Oriental Honey Buzzard, characteristics, breeding and the necessary details:

Despite superficially resembling a Buzzard (Buteo sp.), the Oriental Honey-buzzard, like the European Honey-buzzard, is actually a large but slender raptor, taxonomically resembling to kites. The colour and pattern of its plumage varies extraordinarily across its range with six subspecies differing in appearance.

The male Buzzard is smaller than the female. The male Buzzard is long-necked with a small blue-grey head with a short head crest. The tail is long, darker with a white band. The back is brown and under parts are paler. Occasional high-pitched whistling sound is made by them.

They prefer to live among the broad-leaved forests. They have been observed eating larvae of bees and wasps, bits of honeycomb and honey, from which it gets the name “Honey Buzzard”. Their breeding season starts from March.

Oriental Honey Buzzard call: High pitched whe-yeeeee, whee-ew, and piha

It was a treat for my eyes to watch the Oriental Honey Buzzard bird for the first time that too from such proximity. I kept staring at the large species until a friend of mine shook me and asked whether I would click a picture of the bird or not. It was in the month of September, 2015 when I captured the images of the bird at Central Park, Kolkata. Although that was the last time when I caught hold of the bird, a rarity in the locality. During that time there was huge bee hive in Central Park, the bird may have come to feed on the honey. From my own personal experience I can say it is one of the best raptors that I have photographed till date.


  • This bird can be easily identified from other raptors from its pigeon like head
  • eyes are red both in males and females
  • usually it’s difficult to approach but , with caution one can get a bit close .


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