Threats and legal status
The honey buzzard is listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, which affords special protection at all times.
The honey buzzard is sensitive to and strongly affected by disturbance and interference with habitat, especially in the breeding season.
Population levels tend to be depressed in areas which are used heavily for eg recreation and housing. Shooting of migratory birds in the Mediterranean is a serious threat, particularly to the inexperienced juvenile birds.
Security of active nests is increased by nest watches organised by local volunteers. General woodland conservation action will also help to secure the habitat for honey buzzards.
It is an offence to take, injure or kill a honey buzzard or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds at or close to their nest during the breeding season. Violation of the law can attract fines up to £5,000 per offence and/or a prison sentence of up to 6 months.
All honey buzzards in captivity must be registered. Wild honey buzzards are allowed to be kept in captivity only temporarily if they are injured, and then must be released back to the wild at the earliest opportunity. Captive bred individuals can be legally kept, but these must be ringed and registered. Sale or public display of honey buzzards are controlled by Article 10 licence. All the licensing matters are dealt with by Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Britain and by Department for Agriculture in Northern Ireland.