Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)


French: Bondrée orientale German: Schopfwespenbussard Spanish: Abejero oriental
Other common names: Crested Honey-buzzard

Falco ptilorhyncus

[sic] Temminck

, 1821,



Closely related to P. apivorus, in which sometimes included as a race (see that species). Races rather distinctive. Migratory, generally paler form orientalis recently treated as a full species#R#R, but considerable degree of individual variation and polymorphism, as well as geographical variation within taxa (e.g. ruficollis#R), renders taxonomic evaluation difficult; further research highly desirable. Additional proposed races japonicus (from Japan), neglectus (Taiwan, migrant) and gurneyi (Myanmar) generally considered invalid. Emendation of spelling to ptilorhynchus is justified because this is the spelling on the original wrapper#R. Six subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. orientalis Taczanowski, 1891 – Eastern Honey-buzzard – SC Siberia E to Amurland and Sakhalin, S to NE China, Japan and Korea; winters SE Asia S to Greater and Lesser Sundas, Philippines and Sangihe, also very small numbers farther W (e.g. regular on passage through S Kazakhstan), possibly wintering E Africa#R.
  • P. p. ruficollis Lesson, 1830 – Indus Valley (Pakistan)#R, India and Sri Lanka E through Myanmar to SC China (Yunnan) and most of Indochina.
  • P. p. torquatus Lesson, 1830 – extreme SW Indochina, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo.
  • P. p. ptilorhynchus (Temminck, 1821) – Indomalayan Honey-buzzard – Java.
  • P. p. philippensis Mayr, 1939 – N & E Philippines.
  • P. p. palawanensis Stresemann, 1940 – W Philippines (Calauit and Palawan).
  • Descriptive notes

    52–68 cm; male 750–1280 g, female 950–1490 g; wingspan 115–155 cm. Similar to P. apivorus, but larger, shorter-tailed, lacks dark... read more


    Mostly silent, even in nesting season. Occasionally gives single high-pitched whistle described as... read more


    Wooded areas, preferring broad-leaved trees, in wide variety of bioclimates. Dense forests, open... read more

    Food and feeding

    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... read more


    Laying starts Feb in S India, May and particularly Jun in N of range, everywhere related to availability of bees and wasps. Nests mainly in... read more


    Migratory in N populations, sedentary or with local movements in S. Arrives on breeding grounds in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Status poorly known; retiring habits of species make its detection difficult and it is possible that its breeding range in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 12 November 2019).