Wednesday, 28 December 2016

462 | European Honey Buzzard in Namibia


Photos by Mrs. Birgit Leicher

Female barred European Honey Buzzard Wespenbussard / Pernis apivores

The private nature reserve of the Kempinski Estates, situated 20 km south of Windhoek (Namibia) in the Auas Mountains, currently hosts a palate for bird and animal lovers. Since around the beginning of December this year, residents regularly observe a raptor in the splendid nature surrounding their houses. When Mrs. Birgit Leicher reported this sighting and sent her photos to BirdsConTour, this bird of prey could be identified as a non-breeding Palearctic migrating European Honey Buzzard, which is classified as uncommon to rare in Africa. Mrs. Gudrun Middendorff from the Namibian Birdclub confirmed the photos as the European Honey Buzzard.
This species shows an interesting nutritional behavior. As the species name already testifies, they mainly feed on wasps, but also on other insects such as termites. Different hunting methods are used. They snatch wasp nests from trees or from under the house roofs. Insects are also caught in flight or on the ground. They even go so far that they dig up wasp nests from out of 40 cm depths from the ground with their powerful claws. They are protected against the dangerous insect stings thanks to thick head feathers and thick scales on their legs.
Because this species keeps the wasp populations in check, it is alwa a welcome guest.

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