The seasonal presence of the Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus in Israel has changed during the last two decades. Up until the late 1990s, it occurred in Israel as a rare spring migrant, but has since been more frequently observed. In the last decade, it has established itself as a regular over-winterer in Eilat, as well as a rare summer visitor. The reasons for this change are unclear; however, this process is concurrent with the invasion of the Dwarf Honey Bee Apis florea to the southern part of Arava, the region extending from the Gulf of Aqaba to the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Similar invasions of this social honey bee, native to East Asia, have been reported from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Using standardized line transects to count Oriental Honey Buzzard, and by creating a Honeybee Invasion Index (HII) for Dwarf Honey Bee, based on data collected by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to estimate its distribution, we show that the abundance of overwintering Oriental Honey Buzzard in Eilat is significantly related to the distribution of DHB in southern Arava. We suggest that the invasion of Dwarf Honey Bee in the area facilitates the presence of Oriental Honey Buzzard outside the migration season.
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Vol. 56 • No. 2