Honeyguides and honey hunters

Prof Adrian Craig

Honeyguides and honey hunters

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Honeyguides are a distinctive family of birds which occur in Africa and tropical Asia. We know very little about the biology of most species, but two unusual characteristics are probably shared by all honeyguides: the ability to digest wax, and the habit of brood parasitism (laying their eggs in the nests of other birds). One African honeyguide is famous for its habit of guiding people to active nests of wild bees. This gives the humans access to honey, while the honeyguide can obtain beeswax. Recent research is providing new insights into this interaction, which involves learning by both parties, but there are enduring myths and misinformation about the guiding behaviour of these birds.

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Thu, September 15, 2022 at 19h00 (SAST)

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