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Long-tailed Honey Buzzard
Henicopernis longicauda

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Long-tailed Buzzard, Long-tailed Honey-buzzard, Papuan Honey-buzzard.

Henicopernis longicauda
click to enlarge
Distribution: Australasian. Endemic to NEW GUINEA and western Papuan islands. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic. Rand and Gilliard (1967) recognized three races, distributed as follows: H.l. longicauda (Garnot): Salawati, Batanta, and all of New Guinea, H.l. fraterculus (Stresemann and Paludan): Japen Island, and H.l. minimus (Junge): Aru Islands, Misol, Waigeu, and Biak Island. They noted that fraterculus was doubtfully distinct from nominate longicauda, but this treatment was followed by Stresemann and Amadon (1979). However, the differences ascribed to these populations are now judged to reflect clinal variation, with birds smaller in coastal lowlands and larger in highlands (Debus 1994), and recent authorities have treated the species as monotypic.

Taxonomy: Amadon and Bull (1988) suggested that this species might be conspecific with H. infuscatus, but most recent authors have treated them as distinct species, based on their plumage differences (Debus 1994). Gamauf and Haring (2004) determined that the genus Henicopernis and the Old World vulture Gypaetus-Neophron clade are rather distantly related to Pernis, based on partial sequences of the cytochrome b gene.

Movements: Non-migratory, but juveniles disperse from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Frequents forest and at forest edges and forages over the canopy and mid-levels of forests (Beehler 1978, Coates 1985). Rand and Gilliard (1967) thought that the forest canopy is the "normal" habitat of this species, and it is usually seen soaring over the canopy at a moderate height. It occurs singly, in pairs, or in threes (Diamond 1972). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mostly on insects, including wasps and wasp larvae, ants, and grasshoppers, and also on tree lizards, birds, and bird eggs (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986). Sometimes seen soaring low over the canopy when hunting; hunts during the daylight and also at dusk (Coates op cit.). When hunting within the forest, it moves from perch to perch, perching near trunks and peering about, searching for prey (Coates op cit.). At Mt. Albert, Edward, Bell (1971) usually saw this species hawking insects low over the forest, but on one occasion, he observed a bird flying out into grassland, seizing a prey item, and returning to the forest. Thomas Gilliard also saw one flying low (ca. 1 m) harrier-style over an agricultural plot on a steep slope (Mayr and Gilliard 1954). more....

Breeding: Breeding activity has been observed during the late wet season and through much of the dry season (Coates 1985). The stick nest is usually built high in a tree, sometimes in the crown of a tall Pandanus and sometimes on a cliff ledge (Majnep and Bulmer 1977). One nest was only 7 m off the ground. Bishop (1977) recorded activity at a nest in an Araucaria pine near Baiyer River in April and May. Shaw-Mayer collected a single young bird from a nest on Mt. Wilhelm in May. According to Coates (1985), who summarized these records, the egg has not been described. more....

Conservation: Fairly common within its limited range, but like the New Guinea Harpy Eagle, this species is persecuted for its primary and tail feathers, which are used for decorative purposes (Mayr and Gilliard 1954, Gyldenstolpe 1955, Coates 1985). This possibly results from this species being confused with the New Guinea Harpy Eagle, a misperception that biologists of The Peregrine Fund encountered often when studying the latter species in the Eastern Highlands. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International.

Important References: 
Beehler, B.M., T.K. Pratt, and D.A. Zimmerman. 1986. Birds of New Guinea.
  Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Bell, H.L. 1971. Field-notes on birds of Mt. Albert Edward, Papua. Emu
Coates, B.J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck
  Archipelago and Bougainville. Vol. I. Non-passerines. Dove Publications,
  Alderley, Queensland, Australia.
Coates, B.J., and W.J. Peckover. 2001. Birds of New Guinea and the
  Bismarck Archipelago: a photographic guide. Dove Publications, Alderley,
  Queensland, Australia.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. Long-tailed Buzzard. Pp. 107-108 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Diamond, J.M. 1972. Avifauna of the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea.
  Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club no. 12.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Gamauf, A., and E. Haring. 2004. Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of
  honey-buzzards (genera Pernis and Henicopernis). Journal of
  Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 42:145-153.
Mayr, E., and E.T. Gilliard. 1954. Birds of central New Guinea: results of
  the American Museum of Natural History Expedition to New Guinea in 1950 and
  1952. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 103:317-374.
Rand, A.L., and E.T. Gilliard. 1967. Handbook of the birds of New Guinea.
  Wiedenfeld and Nicolson, London.
Rothschild, W. 1931. On a collection of birds made by Mr. F. Shaw Mayer in
  the Weyland Mountains, Dutch New Guinea, in 1930. Novitate Zoologicae
Thiollay, J.-M. Family Accipitridae. Pp. 52-105 in J. del Hoyo, A. Elliot,
  and J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
van Balen, B.S. 1998. Tropical forest raptors in Indonesia: recent
  information on distribution, status, and conservation. Journal of Raptor
  Research 32:56-63.

Legra, Leo

Last modified: 6/12/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Long-tailed Honey Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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