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Black Honey-buzzard Henicopernis infuscatus
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This species is considered Vulnerable on the basis of a small estimated population which is suspected to be declining rapidly through rampant lowland forest loss, owing primarily to conversion to oil palm. However, basic biological data on the species, and an assessment of its tolerance of logged forest, is urgently needed to further inform this assessment.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Henicopernis infuscata Collar and Andrew (1988)

50 cm. Large, heavily barred, forest raptor. Almost black with conspicuous white bands on flight and tail feathers. Usually seen in flight when long tail and long wings with bulging secondaries and broad wing-tips are distinctive. Similar spp. Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata is smaller and much paler. Voice Piped series of c.12 accelerating, upslurred notes. Hints Usually seen from vantage points overlooking hill or montane forest.

Distribution and population
Henicopernis infuscatus is a little-known endemic of New Britain (including Lolobau) in Papua New Guinea. There are only c.30 recent records, all of singles or pairs (Coates 1985, Clay 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, B. Finch in litt. 1994, Hornbuckle 1999a, J. Pilgrim in litt. 1999). As a large raptor, it is believed to occur at low population densities and it appears to be much less common than the allospecific New Guinea Long-tailed Buzzard H. longicauda (B. Finch in litt. 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, P. Gregory in litt. 1999). However, it is an inconspicuous forest species which is probably widespread and is likely to be very under-recorded (G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, Dutson 2011).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 10,000-19,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size (Buchanan et al. 2008, Dutson in litt. 2012). This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid rate of decline is estimated from rate of forest loss within altitudinal range, which itself was estimated using remote sensing by Buchanan et al. (2008). This is given at 12.5% between 1990 and 2000, or 37.4% over three generations.

It is usually recorded gliding over primary hill forest to a maximum of 1,300 m (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). There are few records from logged or otherwise degraded forest, but its habitat requirements are poorly known (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, Clay 1994, B. Finch in litt. 1994). Its feeding ecology may be similar to that of H. longicauda which hunts above or within the canopy for arthropods, lizards, birds and birds' eggs (Coates 1985).

Nearly all lowland and hill forests on gentle gradients on New Britain have been logged or are under logging concessions, and large areas have been subsequently converted to oil-palm plantations (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998, P. Gregory in litt. 1999, Buchanan et al. 2008). However, much of this species's habitat is on steep slopes and montane forest which is not suitable for logging (Clay 1994, G. Dutson pers. obs. 1997-1998). These striking birds are likely to be shot opportunistically as trophies and for meat (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Hunting has rendered H. longicauda scarce in some areas of New Guinea (Coates 1985).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. No conservation measures are known.Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine best survey techniques. Survey status in logged forest. Employ local hunters to find nests for intensive observation. Assess levels of hunting through interviewing local hunters. Interview local villagers about population trends. Map remaining forest and logging concessions across New Britain. Lobby for a moratorium on forest clearance for oil-palm plantations. Encourage creation of community-run sustainable logging rather than commercial logging. Encourage creation of large wildlife management areas on New Britain. Address hunting through public awareness discussions.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Buchanan, G.M., Butchart, S.H.M., Dutson, G., Pilgrim, J.D., Steininger, M.K., Bishop, K.D. and Mayaux, P. 2008. Using remote sensing to inform conservation status assessment: estimates of recent deforestation rates on New Britain and the impacts on endemic birds. Biological Conservation 141(1): 56-66.

Clay, J. 1994. Nakanai '93: an Oxford University Expedition to New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Dutson, G. 2011. Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Christopher Helm, London.

Hornbuckle, J. 1999. Birding in Melanesia: 3 May - July 1999.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Dutson, G., Finch, D., Gregory, P., Pilgrim, J., Wilkinson, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Henicopernis infuscatus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Black honey buzzard (Henicopernis infuscatus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author Gurney, 1882
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 35,500 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species