African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

Thank you – Asante Sana – Te Agredecemos

Our work in Mozambique is made possible by the collaboration and support of the following wonderful people and organisations:

Niassa Special Reserve

The Niassa Special Reserve is a remarkable wilderness where people and wildlife coexist. The Reserve protects an area the size of Denmark, with stunning landscapes and rich wildlife, including important but threatened populations of elephant, lion and wild dog. It is managed by a partnership between the Mozambican government (Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. We are extremely grateful to the reserve authorities for their kindness and support, with special thanks to the Reserve Warden, Mr Baldeu Chande.

Niassa National Reserve

Mbamba Village community

The honey-hunters of Mbamba Village in the Niassa Special Reserve are half of the mutualism we study, and contribute crucially to our data collection and field experiments. None of it could happen without their cooperation and expertise. We are especially grateful to our leadership team of Iahaia Buanachique, Musaji Muamedi, Carvalho Issa Nanguar, and Seliano Alberto Runcunua, and to the Traditional Chiefs of Mbamba Village for their support.

Niassa Carnivore Project

The Niassa Carnivore Project, directed by Dr Colleen Begg and Keith Begg, is a remarkable conservation project conducted in equal partnership with the Mbamba Village community. Our honeyguide research project is hosted by the Mariri Environmental Centre, where we are especially thankful to Tomas Buruwate, Antonio Chabana, Silto Cristóvão, Celestino Dauda, Ken Harman, Rachide Herculano, Agostinho Jorge, Lurdes Massingue, Andrew Mkanaje, Quiteria Muarapaz, Hugo Pereira and Eusebio Waiti for their support in many ways.

Niassa Carnivore Project

European Research Council

Our research has since 2017 been primarily supported by a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (grant number 725185). We are extremely grateful to the ERC for their generous and crucial support.

European Research Council

We are also grateful to the following funders:

American Ornithological Society  Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour  Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council  British Ecological Society  FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology
British Ecological Society

News

New collaborative paper on honeyguide-human cooperation in Kenya

In a new paper in Frontiers in Conservation Science in collaboration with Isa Gedi, we report on the honey-hunting culture with greater honeyguides of the Awer people in Kenya. Awer honey-hunters depend on wild honey as a source of income, and readily seek the cooperation of honeyguides. To attract honeyguides, they whistle on the shell of a Giant African Land Snail. We thank the interviewees for sharing their honey-hunting culture with us.

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Laltaika awarded a Distinction for his MSc dissertation

Warmest congratulations to Eliupendo Laltaika, whose MSc research dissertation “Understanding the mutualistic interaction between greater honeyguides and four co-existing human cultures in northern Tanzania” was awarded with Distinction. Laltaika will graduate with an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town in December, and will rejoin the Honeyguide Research Project team as a PhD student from 2022. The image shows Laltaika interviewing a Ndorobo honey-hunter in September 2020, as part of his research on the honey-hunting cultures of Maasai, Sonjo, Hadzabe and Ndorobo communities in Tanzania.

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Honours students Rion Cuthill and Cameron Blair complete projects

Congratulations to Rion Cuthill and Cameron Blair for successfully finalising their University of Cape Town Honours research dissertations hosted by our project. Rion’s thesis was titled ‘Where there is smoke, is there fire? The role of the honeyguide-human mutualism in African savannah fire ecology’ and supervised by Claire Spottiswoode and Sally Archibald. Cameron’s thesis was titled ‘Does the remarkable guiding call of the Greater Honeyguide develop from its begging call?’ and supervised Claire Spottiswoode and Jessica van der Wal.

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