African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

Laltaika successfully completes his fieldwork

Jan 2, 2021

Eliupendo Laltaika in the field

Eliupendo Laltaika is back in Moshi after successfully completing his Masters fieldwork in northern Tanzania, studying the human-honeyguide mutualism across four honey-hunting cultures (the Maasai, Ndorobo, Hadzabe and Sonjo people). Laltaika overcame many logistical hurdles and car breakdowns to collect a wonderful dataset from interviews and honey-hunting trips, and is now analysing his data and writing his thesis. Thank you to all the communities he interviewed for their generosity in sharing their honey-hunting experiences, and to TAWIRI, COSTECH and the NRCA for their support.









































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