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Black Honey Buzzard
Henicopernis infuscatus

Status: Vulnerable

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Black Honey-buzzard, Henicopernis infuscata, New Britain Buzzard, New Britain Honey-buzzard.


Henicopernis infuscatus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Australasian. Endemic to NEW BRITAIN and nearby Lolobau Island. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Amadon and Bull (1988) suggested that this species might be conspecific with H. longicauda, but most authors regard them as a superspecies, based on their disinct 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. Sibley and Monroe (1990) pointed out that the original spelling of the species name, "infuscata," was incorrect (wrong gender).

Movements: Non-migratory (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in primary forest up to 1,300 m, and there are a few records from logged or degraded forest. However, it appears that the species mainly occurs (whether by preference or default) on steep slopes and in montane forest that are not suitable for logging (BirdLife International 2008). Bishop (1983) recorded it in the lowland rainforests in West New Britain, where he did not see the birds soaring. However, other observers (Lecroy and Peckover 1983, Coates 1985, Orenstein 1976) saw it commonly soaring over forested ridges. Nevertheless, this is generally an inconspicuous forest species that is probably under-recorded. Usually solitary, or found in pairs.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Little information, but presumably its preferences are like those of the closely related Long-tailed Buzzard, which hunts above or within the canopy for birds, bird eggs, lizards, and insects (BirdLife International 2006). Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) mentioned that lizards and spiders were found in the stomachs of collected specimens.

Breeding: No information available. Brown and Amadon (1968) mentioned that a bird in breeding condition was collected in May.

Conservation: Considered by BirdLife International (2008) to be Vulnerable on the basis of its small estimated population, which is probably declining (although supporting data are unavailable). It is likely that it suffers from habitat loss and shooting for trophies or meat (K.D. Bishop in BirdLife International 2008).

Important References: 
BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Lynx
  Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, and BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
BirdLife International. 2005. Species factsheet: Henicopernis infuscatus.
  http://www.birdlife.org.
Bishop, K.D. 1983. Notes on some non-passerine birds of West New Britain.
  Emu 83:235-241.
Bishop, K.D., and D.N. Jones. 2001. The montane avifauna of West New
  Britain, with special reference to the Nakanai Mountains. Emu 101:205-220.
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.
Collar, N.J., and P. Andrew. 1988. Birds to watch: the ICBP world
  check-list of threatened birds. International Council for Bird
  Preservation, Cambridge, UK.
Debus, S.J.S. 1994. New Britain 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.
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 Systetmatics and Evolutionary Research 42:145-153.
Hartert, E. 1926. On the birds of the District of Talasea in New Britain.
  Novitates Zoologicae 33:122-145.
LeCroy, M., and W.S. Peckover. 1983. Birds of the Kimbe Bay area, West New
  Britain, Papua New Guinea. Condor 85:297-304.
Mayr, E., and J.M. Diamond. 2001. The birds of northern Melanesia. Oxford
  University Press, New York.
Orenstein, R. I. 1976. Birds of the Plesyumi area, central New Britain.
  Condor 78:370-374.
Schodde, R. 1978. The status of endangered Papuasian birds. Pp. 133-145,
  185-206 in M.J. Tyle (ed.), The status of endangered
  Australasian wildlife. Royal Zoological Society of South Australia,
  Adelaide, Australia.
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.


Last modified: 6/12/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2017. Species account: Black Honey Buzzard Henicopernis infuscatus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 19 Aug. 2017








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