African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

A productive dry season and a new team member

Oct 5, 2018

Mele and Carvalho with helmet-shrikes

Dry season fieldwork in the Niassa Reserve. Dom, Claire and David and the field team (including Iahaia “Mele” Buanachique and Carvalho Issa Nanguar, here with some helmet-shrike bycatch) are joined by Jessica van der Wal, who has just finished her PhD at St Andrews studying New Caledonian crows, another bird with a fascinating foraging ecology. She learned Kiswahili as a kid in Tanzania, which will also come in handy.


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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