0112 Honeyguide Bird

Feb 22, 2017, 08:18 PM

This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Center for East Asian Studies and Kansas African Studies.

This is a story about the birds and the bees. But the children can stay in the room because it’s not X-rated. In Mozambique, a wild bird called the greater honeyguide works with humans for mutual benefit. Although this relationship has been documented since the 1500s, it took more than 500 years and an article in Science for it to become known worldwide. As its name implies, the honeyguide guides honey-seeking humans to honey-filled beehives. Honey hunters in Mozambique use a specialized call that is particularly attractive to the birds. They then follow the honeyguides to the nearest bees’ nest-filled tree trunk, smoke out the bees, open the tree trunk and take the honey. What of the honeycomb, you might ask? We’re tempted to say none of your beeswax but we’ll tell you instead: it’s for the birds.

With thanks to Mackenzie Jones for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.

#Mozambique #Jones #Hacker #CEAS #KASC

"Greater Honeyguide IMG_1639" Image Courtesy of Wilferd Duckitt. Released under a CC BY 2.0 license.