African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

A new dry season

Aug 28, 2019

Dom, Jessica and David travel to Mariri for a six-week field trip working alongside our honey-hunter colleagues Mele, Carvalho and Musaji (above). Together they focused on ringing the honeyguide population. The Niassa Reserve was extremely dry, but the leafless trees allow easier observations of honeyguides while they guide.


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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