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The large-scale detoured migration route and the shifting pattern of migration in Oriental honey-buzzards breeding in Japan


  • Editor: Andrew Kitchener

Noriyuki Yamaguchi, Laboratory of Biodiversity Science, School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113–8657, Japan.


We describe the detoured migration route of the Oriental honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus, showing differences between autumn and spring migration, using data from 10 adult individuals marked with satellite transmitters. In autumn, the migration routes were very similar from Japan to the south end of the Malay Peninsula. The wintering sites were distributed within the Philippines, Borneo and the Malay Archipelago. During autumn, migration of the birds had few long-term stopover sites, instead, sometimes decidedly slowing their migration rate while proceeding in a consistent direction. During spring migration, the honey-buzzards penetrated into southern China, moving north to the base of the Korean Peninsula. The birds then went south through the Korean Peninsula to reach Japan. Before travelling to China, all spring migrants stopped for several weeks in south-east Asia. The slow rate of travel in the autumn suggests that migrants were foraging and replenishing their energy reserves. Instead of a migration strategy that uses only a few long-term stopover sites, honey-buzzards may adopt a strategy based on a number of short-term stay sites.

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