Working for birds in Africa

Crested Honey Buzzard, a new species for Egypt and the African Continent

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In the late morning of 9 May 1996 we were watching hundreds of migrating raptors descending to drink at Bir El Ambagi, 7 km west of Quseir in the Eastern Desert. One bird, however, attracted our attention because of its bold, broadly banded, black and white tail and its relatively large size. Being aware of the recent occurrence of the Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus in the Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Israel and Saudi Arabia), and also the key identification features of ptilorhynchus as reviewed in recent literature, we immediately recognised the bird to be this species. The sighting represents the first record for Egypt and Africa and the second record for the Western Palearctic. The Crested Honey Buzzard was ascending with a mixed group, mostly Buzzards Buteo huteo, but also some Honey Buzzards P. apivorus and eagles, apparently after it had stopped to drink. From an altitude of about 70-80 m the bird rapidly gained height and vanished within about five minutes, joining a stream of birds moving in a northerly direction over the mountains.

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