Claire shares some of our honeyguide research findings so far in a plenary talk at a workshop on ‘The Biology and Economics of Mutualisms’ at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, in Plön, Germany. Her talk, co-authored with David Lloyd-Jones and Brian Wood, is entitled ‘The natural history of human-animal mutualism’. Thank you, Chaitanya, Jorge, Maren and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology team for organising a wonderfully stimulating meeting, and for your invitation.
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.