Honey Buzzard (European Honey Buzzard)
Distribution Britain 27 (146%) Ireland 0
Numbers breeding: Britain 55 Ireland 0
European status: 45,000 (0% in Britain and Ireland)
British population trend: steady increase
How likely are you to record it? 1 square (0.0%) Ranked 190=
Always a rare migrant breeder, with many secret records, there has been a recent increase to about 50 or 55 pairs, mostly at established sites in English woodlands (but Atlas records also from Scotland). First breeding in Wales was in 1992. The population is creeping up from the sporadic breeding reported earlier. There followed a gradual increase and expansion on to better ground, probably helped by the arrival of new genes, and the breeding success has improved so that they are increasing faster. In spring 1999 228 pairs and 155 unpaired birds were recorded! Breeding success was poorer than usual but at least 165 young were reared. Better protection and the possible increase of prey (wasps and bees) through global warming may be helping. The British population may gradually reach about 200 pairs.
Roberts, S.J., Lewis, J.M.S. & Williams, I.T. 1999 British Birds: 92, 326-345.
The following Bird On! sketch is available:
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead