Why is Honey Buzzard not afraid of wasps and bees?

Posted on Jan 12, 2021      370

It horrifies us to see how a Honey Buzzard, all surrounded by insects, destroys nests. But the fears for the bird are in vain: it is perfectly adapted to the fact that the various stinging insects do not cause inconvenience.

Honey Buzzard is a medium size bird of prey, common in Europe and Asia. This bird of prey can be easily confused with another winged predator, if not for its unusual diet. Actually, the name “Honey Buzzard “in this case speaks for itself: the bird is looking for nests of wasps and bees and eats their larvae. Usually, during the meal, an angry swarm flies around a wasp, but it cannot do anything with it.

It is all about the unusual structure of the plumage of Honey Buzzard. Detailed research of feathers from different parts of the bird’s body showed their distinctive features. It turned out that they are much harder, denser and, smaller than the similar birds of prey. But the feathers themselves are much bigger and they grow denser towards each other, as if they are in armor, under which it is not so easy to get. Honey Buzzard and bees cannot penetrate through the dense and dense feather cover, and insects fly around in powerless anger.

But this is not all the protection of a Honey Buzzard. In addition, the feathers of the bird - especially in the less protected areas of the neck and eyes - are covered with a special grease, which scares away wasps, bees and bumblebees.

This is interesting: the Honey Buzzard is the only creature that hunts the hornet species Vespa mandarine. These giants can grow up to 6 cm long, with a large stock of highly toxic poison and a stinger of 6 mm long.