Upper plumage brown, with cinereous bars on the wings: under parts white, with triangular brown spots.
Falco apivorus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. I. p. 67. Honey Buzzard, Mont. Orn. Diet. Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 62. pl. 8. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. i. p. 24.
Entire length one foot ten inches: length of the bill (from the forehead) eleven lines, (from the gape) one inch six lines; of the tarsus two inches three lines; of the tail eight inches; from the carpus to the end of the wing one foot four inches: breadth, wings extended, four feet one inch.
(Adult male). Top of the head bluish ash; upper parts of the body brown, inclining to cinereous: secondaries barred alternately with dusky brown and bluish gray: under parts whitish, with brown spots, which assume a triangular form on the breast and abdomen: tail with three transverse dusky bars: cere greenish grey: inside of the mouth, irides, and feet, yellow. (Female and young). Forehead alone bluish ash; rest of the upper parts pale reddish brown, with a large dusky spot in the centre of each feather: throat nearly white: fore part of the neck, breast and belly, yellowish red, with large brown spots; sometimes light brown, with reddish brown bars (Young of the year). Upper parts like those of the adult female, but the feathers on the head, neck, and greater wing-coverts, tipped with white: quills dusky, tipped with white: throat whitish; rest of the under parts reddish white with large brown spots, or reddish brown with a few partially white feathers intermixed, occasionally of a uniform pale brown with fine longitudinal dusky streaks: cere yellow: irides brown. Obs. This species appears to vary considerably in plumage, especially in the immature state. (Egg). Mottled nearly all over with two shades of dark red brown, the white ground only here and there visible: long. diam. two inches one line; trans, diam. one inch nine lines.
Of rare occurrence in this country, especially in the adult state. Has been met with in Hampshire, Berkshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, and several times in Cambridgeshire. Feeds principally upon the larvae and pupae of wasps during the season in which they are to be obtained; at other times, preys on small quadrupeds and birds. Is said to build in tall trees.
(3. Circus, Bechst).