Honey Buzzard

Pic: Mike Lane / Alamy

Pic: Mike Lane / Alamy

The Honey Buzzard is a rare breeding bird in the UK, with fewer than 70 breeding pairs (though more pass through on passage to and from Scandinavia). One of the reasons for the UK being on the extreme of the Honey Buzzards is that their diet largely consists of larvae of colonial wasps and bees, which are in relatively short supply in the UK. 

This diet is also the source of the ‘Honey’ part of the bird’s name, though honey is not what these birds of prey are searching for when they rip open bees’ nests.

They have relatively weak bills and feet with long toes and claws adapted for digging and tearing at insects nests, often on the ground. Otherwise, in size, general shape and plumage, it is quite similar to the Buzzard (hence that part of the bird’s name), though is in fact more closely related to the kites.