Barred Honey Buzzard (Pernis celebensis)

Barred Honey Buzzard

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Pernis celebensis | [authority] Wallace, 1868 | [UK] Barred Honey Buzzard | [FR] Bondree des Celebes | [DE] Celebes-Wespenbussard | [ES] Abejero de celebes | [NL] Celebeswespendief


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pernis celebensis AU Sulawesi


Members of the genus Pernis are rather large kites – normally called Honey-Buzzards. They have long, broad buteonine wings and tails. The legs are short, but stout; with stout toes and talons. The lores are densely feathered with short imbricated feathers an adaptation to ward off wasps and bees whose larvae form an important part of their diet. The feathers of entire head are somewhat stiffened; with or without a projecting crest on nape. The tail is boldly barred. Their general colour is highly variable with dark phases in some forms. The young are usually more heavily streaked than are the adults. This distinct genus is associated with Henicopernis (Long-tailed and Black Honey-Buzzards), Aviceda (Cuckoo Falcons and Bazas) and Leptodon (Grey-headed Kite). It is found in Europe, through to Asia and the Pacific Rim; the more northerly forms being highly migratory. There are two major species – Pernis apivorus which, with its subspecies, covers most of the genus’ range, and Pernis celebensis which is specific to part of the Pacific rim.

Physical charateristics

The crown and nape are black, the feathers of nape being narrow and pointed, forming a short crest. The rest of the upper side, including the upper wings, are sepia to pale sepia, with some buff streaks on the upper back. The tail is brown to black with a broad pale brown band. There are also narrow obscure brown bands towards the base and a pale tip. The lores are covered with close, stiff, grey feathers. The sides of the head are streaked with sepia and pale brown. The throat and chin are white, narrowly streaked with black, and with a broad black median line and black edges. The upper breast is buff with a hint of rufous, streaked with dark brown. The lower breast, belly and under-wing coverts are barred white and dark brown. The under surface of the wing and tail quills is grey with fine mottling, strongly barred with dark brown, especially on the primaries. The eyes are yellow to brown, the cere and feet yellow; the bill black above, and horn coloured at base of lower mandible.
Immatures are much paler brown above than the adult, generally pale sepia with paler edges. The tail is sepia with a broad pale bar near the tip and five narrow bars. The underside is like that of the adult, but its barring and streaking are much less distinct; and generally much paler.

Listen to the sound of Barred Honey Buzzard

[audio: Honey Buzzard.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 130 cm wingspan max.: 135 cm
size min.: 51 cm size max.: 56 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia : Sulawesi and Philippine Islands


The species in habits mountain forest.


Hardly any data, display involves claw-grasping and one nest contained a clutch of two eggs.

Feeding habits

As would be expected from its densely feathered face, this is a typical Honey-Buzzard, feeding upon bees and their honey-combs

Video Barred Honey Buzzard


copyright: Luc Fazio


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Barred Honey Buzzard status Least Concern


On the larger islands of the Philippines (Luzon, Mindanao) there are two resident species of Pernis, and in winter also a migrant race of one of them (Pernis apivorus orientalis).

Distribution map

Barred Honey Buzzard distribution range map

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