Honeyguide

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Honeyguides
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Piciformes
Family:Indicatoridae
Genera

Indicator
Melichneutes
Prodotiscus

Honeyguide birds, also known as also known as honey birds, indicator birds, and simply honeyguides, (family Indicatoridae) are several dull-colored near passerine bird species of the order Piciformes, notable for their method of obtaining food. They have an Old World tropical distribution, with the greatest number of species in Africa and a few in Asia.

The honeyguide feeds exclusively on the contents of bee colonies: beeswax, honey, and bee larvae. However, since it is unable to open colonies by itself, the African species enlist the help of other animals - typically the ratel (or African honey badger), the baboon, or the human.

After locating a hive, the honeyguide seeks out a suitable "follower", which it then leads to the hive by means of a series of characteristic vocalizations, gestures, and flight patterns. The follower is expected to open the colony or hive, incapacitate the adult bees, feed on the contents, and leave remnants for the honeyguide. The bird is rarely disappointed in this respect, if only because its symbiotic stomach bacteria enable it to digest beeswax, which its followers tend to ignore. Bushmen tradition says that the honeyguide must be thanked with a gift of honey, and that if it is not, it may lead its follower to a lion as punishment.

Although the Asian members of the Indicatoridae family are not known to recruit "followers" in their quest for honey, they are also referred to as "honeyguides", due to linguistic extrapolation.

Reproduction

In addition to being a bee predator, a mutualist with its follower species, and a symbiont with its wax-digesting bacteria, the honeyguide is a brood parasite. Honeyguide nestlings have been known to physically eject their host's chicks from the nest, and in some honeyguide species have hooks on their beaks with which to more easily wound or kill. The closely-related barbets are a frequent choice of host species.

Classification

The Indicatoridae belongs to the order Piciformes as shown here.

The last two families are sometimes separated as the order Galbuliformes.

Seventeen species in three genera compose the Indicatoridae:

de:Honiganzeiger fr:Indicatoridae lt:Medaus rodytojai

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