Working for birds in Africa

Anti-Poaching camps helping Honey Buzzards

Date posted: 
Monday, April 8, 2019

Anti-poaching camps give honey-buzzard sweet taste of success.

The European Honey-buzzard is fearless in the face of stinging wasps and hornets - but it has no defence against illegal shooting for sport. In Italy, “anti-poaching camps” sparked an extremely successful movement which has saved thousands of honey-buzzards.

The European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus is a bird of contradictions. Despite its sugary name, it doesn’t eat honey. Its main food isn’t even bees: it relies more on the larvae of wasps and hornets. Shifting up and down its perch and bobbing its head from side to side, it uses its needle-sharp vision to spot the stinging insects and follow them back to their nest. 

On migration, this usually solitary species flocks together, using the earth’s magnetic field to orientate itself – supplemented by an incredible visual memory for landmarks and the ability to take advantage of winds. It diverts around the Mediterranean Sea, which does not create thermals suitable to glide on. Instead, flocks funnel themselves over the narrowest sea crossings, such as the Gibraltar Strait and the Messina Strait. It is here that they become easy targets for the full story here.

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