Oriental Honey-buzzard eating paper wasp larvae

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates, Raptors | 4


In November 2007, Johnny Wee encountered an Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus) at the Japanese Garden in Jurong eating what looked like a piece of honeycomb (left).

On closer examination of the images, the structure the buzzard is grasping looks like the small nest of the paper wasp (Polistes sp.) (below).

This is a social wasp that builds a small, inconspicuous nest often attached by a tough stalk to twigs or the under-surfaces of a roof or overhanging structure. On this stalk the wasp constructs her first hexagonal cell of papery material with the opening facing down. She then adds cells around this in concentric circles. Other females join in building the colony and together with a few males, form the small colony.

Once the cells are deep enough, the females lay their eggs and when they are hatched the developing larvae are fed pellets of chewed caterpillars. Once fully grown, the cells are capped with papery materials.

Honey Buzzards often attack large colonies of bees to get at the honeycombs for the honey as well as the larvae. This is a record of a buzzard taking a small nest of the paper wasp.

Johnny Wee
December 2007


4 Responses

  1. Hi Johnny,
    very nice shots you have there!!
    thanks for sharing.
    irfan choo

  2. […] Bird Ecology Study Group Oriental Honey buzzard eating paper Posted by root 1 day 1 hour 19 minutes ago (http://besgroup.talfrynature.com) Often attached by a tough stalk to twigs or the under surfaces of a roof or overhanging structure this is a record of a buzzard taking a small nest of the paper wasp comment by irfanchoo made wednesday 19 of december 2007 at 11 42 am powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | bird ecology study group oriental honey buzzard eating paper […]

  3. […] honey-buzzard is a specialist feeder, feeding on the larvae of bees LINK and wasps LINK. They thus regularly attack such nests to feed on the larvae and also bits of the honeycomb. […]

  4. […] of honeycombs are ripped off and flown to a distant perch where the honey-buzzard will feast on the larvae (and not the honey – Buczacki, 2002) without being troubled by the stinging […]


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