Encouraging signs for European Honey Buzzard in southern England


European Honey Buzzard appears to have had a relatively productive breeding season in southern England, with bumper numbers recorded in the New Forest, Hampshire.

The elusive raptor has enjoyed a good year in terms of the presence of adult birds in the New Forest, although confirmed breeding pairs and discovered nests are below average. It's estimated that a conservative minimum of 20 individuals have been present in the forest. In Hampshire as a whole, at least 10 pairs are thought to have attempted to breed.

A male European Honey Buzzard on breeding territory in East Sussex (Jamie Partridge).

In Sussex, a minimum of 14 pairs have been present this summer, with at least seven confirmed to have bred. In total, some 52 different adults have been recorded in the county. These numbers are similar to 2022, when 15 pairs and 55-65 adults were recorded, suggesting the county population remains steadily healthy.

In Kent, the estimated number of pairs is between five and seven, with at least 18 adults seen across the county. In Surrey, a minimum of two pairs have been recorded, with as many as nine adults present, although successful breeding hasn't been suspected.