honey guide
any of several small, usually dull-colored birds of the family Indicatoridae, of Africa and southern Asia, certain species of which are noted for their habit of leading people or animals to nests of honeybees in order to feed on the honey, larvae, and wax of the nests after they have been broken open.
Also, honeyguide.
[1780-90]

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bird
 any of about a dozen species of birds constituting the family Indicitoridae (order Piciformes). The honey guide gets its name from two African species, the greater, or black-throated, honey guide (Indicator indicator) and the scaly-throated honey guide (I. variegatus), that exhibit a unique pattern of behaviour: the bird leads a ratel (honey badger) or a man to a bees' nest by its chattering and flying ahead; after the larger animal takes honey, the bird eats the wax (the only vertebrate known to do so) and bee larvae.

      Eight other nonguiding species in Africa, one in the Himalayas, and one in Malaysia are also members of the family. All are small, tough-skinned birds that feed chiefly on bees and wasps. Some are brood parasitic (i.e., they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds), usually choosing a hole nester (barbet, woodpecker) as foster parent. The hatchling has a pair of temporary bill hooks, which it uses to kill or injure the host's young.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Honey guide — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • honey guide — noun small bird of tropical Africa and Asia; feeds on beeswax and honey and larvae • Hypernyms: ↑piciform bird • Member Holonyms: ↑Indicatoridae, ↑family Indicatoridae * * * noun 1. : any of several small plainly colored nonpasserine birds of the …   Useful english dictionary

  • honey guide — hon′ey guide or hon′ey•guide n. orn any of various small, drab plumaged birds of the family Indicatoridae, of the Old World tropics: noted for their brood parasitism and the partiality of most species to honey, beeswax, and bee larvae • Etymology …   From formal English to slang

  • honey guide — noun Colorful spots or stripes on a flower that indicate to insects where the nectar is produced. See Also: honey …   Wiktionary

  • honey guide — /ˈhʌni gaɪd/ (say hunee guyd) noun any of various small, dull coloured birds of the family Indicatoridae, of Africa and Asia, which eat insects and wax, some species of which lead humans and animals, such as the ratel, to natural beehives. Also,… …   Australian English dictionary

  • honey-guide — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Honey — Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by bees… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey ant — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey badger — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey bear — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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