African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

Niassa’s honeyguides and honey-hunters in Science

Jul 5, 2016

Our first paper on honeyguide-human mutualism is published, co-authored by Claire together with Keith Begg and Colleen Begg. In it, we demonstrate experimentally that humans and wild honeyguides communicate with one another during their cooperative pursuit of bees’ nests. This research is covered by newspapers around the world, even briefly deposing Donald Trump from the front page of the New York Times.


New paper on human-honeyguide cooperation and communication

A new study from the Honeyguide Research Project shows that Greater Honeyguides learn the distinct calls that honey-hunters in different parts of Africa use to communicate with them, facilitating cooperation between species. Human honey-hunters signal to honeyguides using specialised calls that vary culturally across Africa. The new study shows using field experiments in Mozambique and Tanzania that honeyguides prefer the specialised calls of the local human culture they interact with, compared to those of a foreign culture. This implies that honeyguides can adjust to human cultural diversity, increasing the benefits of cooperation for both people and birds.

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