African Honeyguides

Research on a remarkable
human-animal relationship

Wiro-Bless Kamboe

Wiro-Bless Kamboe


I was born and bred in Navrongo, in the northern part of Ghana, where our livelihoods depend on nature. This allowed me to develop a strong connection to nature at an early age. As children, we enjoyed going on adventures where we hunted birds and small animals. However, every time I came across an injured animal, I felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow and compassion. It was during these experiences I realized my passion for animal welfare and conservation.

As part of my BSc dissertation at BSc at the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Management of the University for Development Studies in Ghana, I conducted research on bird trade in Navrongo and its surroundings. After graduation, I continued to work with my department at the University, focusing on research and teaching. Through Jessica van der Wal, I conducted pilot studies in Ghana on honey-hunting with honeyguides. I was fascinated by the idea of the mutualistic relationship between humans and honeyguides, which motivated me to gain further knowledge on this topic in Ghana. In 2023, I began my MSc studies in Conservation Biology at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town.

Research focus

My objective is to investigate and understand the existing honey-hunting societies in Ghana and the impact of beekeeping on them. Specifically, I will examine the prevalence of honey-hunters who utilize honeyguides versus those who do not, and the extent to which honeyguides contribute to their success in identifying beehives in natural habitats.



  • van der Wal, J.E.M., Afan, A.I., Anyawire, M., Begg, C.M., Begg, K.S., Dabo, G.A., Gedi, I.I., Harris, J.A., Isack, H.A., Ibrahim, J.I., Jamie, G.A., KamboeW.-B.W., Kilawi, A.O., Kingston, A., Laltaika, E.A., Lloyd-Jones, D.J., M’manga, G.M., Muhammad, N.Z., Ngcamphalala, C.A., Nhlabatsi, S.O., Oleleteyo, T.T., Sanda, M., Tsamkxao, L., Wood, B.M., Spottiswoode, C.N., Cram, D.L. 2023 Do honey badgers and greater honeyguide birds cooperate to access bees’ nests? Ecological evidence and honey-hunter accounts. Journal of Zoology 321: 22-32  Read abstract in English and Kiswahili here


David presents at the Apimondia Africa Symposium

David Lloyd-Jones recently gave a talk on what honeyguides and honey-hunters have taught us about Niassa’s wild honeybee ecology at the Apimondia Africa Regional Symposium held in Durban. He was honoured to pay further tribute to Ricardo Guta and his contribution to bee research in Niassa Special Reserve. Many...

read more

In memory of our colleague Ricardo Guta

Ricardo Guta, our dear colleague and friend in our research team, tragically died on 1 December 2022 following a swimming accident in the Cape mountains. All our thoughts are with his wife, Lailat, and their children Adrielle and Piotr. Ricardo’s life was honoured by his colleagues in a memorial at the University of Cape Town on 9 December 2022. He will soon be laid to rest by his family in his home city of Beira, Mozambique.

Ricardo’s warm and generous personality and passion for natural history touched everyone he met. He was much loved and respected at Gorongosa National Park where he worked as an entomologist, at the University of Cape Town where he had just completed his MSc studies, and at the Niassa Special Reserve where we recently carried out a wonderful field trip together. Ricardo had just begun his PhD in our research team, studying the influence of honeyguide-human mutualism on honeybee ecology. We are heartbroken to have lost a wonderful scientist, conservationist and human being, and we miss him deeply.

Ricardo’s legacy will live on in our team as we remember his joy and optimism, and his remarkable capacity to bring people together.

read more