Philippine Honey Buzzard (Pernis steerei)

Philippine Honey Buzzard

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Pernis steerei | [authority] Temminck, 1821 | [UK] Philippine Honey Buzzard | [FR] Prion colombe | [DE] Phillipine-Wespenbussard | [ES] Abejero de phillipine | [NL] Filipijnse Wespendief


Monotypic species


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

Plumage very much like a barred Honey-buzzard but the Philippine birds are pale and crested, while the Sulawesi populations of P. celebensis are colorful and lack a crest. The head is typical small, brest is far less streaked and more pale.

wingspan min.: 135 cm wingspan max.: 150 cm
size min.: 52 cm size max.: 68 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Oriental Region : Philippines. The race winkleri has been documented on the islands of Luzon, Polillo, Catanduanes, Marinduque, Sibuyan, and Romblon, all north and east of the Bernardino Strait between Luzon and Samar. The race steerei is known west and south of the Bernardino Strait from the islands of Samar, Negros, Siargao, Mindanao, Basilan, Leyte, Tablas, Bohol, Tawitawi, Dinagat, and Masbate.


Occurs in lowland primary rainforests or secondary forests selectively logged 2-3 decades ago up to 1,500 m


Nests and eggs have not been described, but breeding has been noted in February

Feeding habits

Feeds on adult insects and their larvae, often attacking bee nests and termite mounds to obtain adults and grubs


This species has an extremely 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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Philippine Honey Buzzard status Least Concern


Probably non-migratory

Distribution map

Philippine Honey Buzzard distribution range map

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