African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

Claire joins the Gorongosa MSc class

Oct 19, 2018

Claire travelled from Niassa to central Mozambique to carry out a module on research design and research proposal writing with the MSc class in conservation biology at the Edward O. Wilson Laboratory of Biodiversity at Gorongosa National Park. A wonderful and stimulating week – thank you Antonio, Lorena and Camilo (above looking over the Gorongosa floodplain) as well as Amina, Gold, Marcio and Victor, and Berta and team for your invitation.


Honey-hunting Research Network workshop

The Honey-hunting Research Network (coordinated by Jessica van der Wal) met in Cape Town for a very enjoyable week of analysing and comparing interview data from honey-hunting cultures across Africa, painting a picture of the human cultural variation relevant to honeyguides, and its uncertain future on a rapidly changing continent. Joining in person were Wiro-Bless Kamboe, Rochelle Mphetlhe, George M’manga, Sanele Nhlabatsi, Daniella Mhangwana, Celiwe Ngcamphalala, Claire Spottiswoode and Jessica van der Wal. Thank you to the Cultural Evolution Society Transformation Fund for funding our get-together!

read more

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.

read more