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greater honeyguide

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Greater honeyguides (Indicator indicator) can be found in a variety of habitats including savannah, forests, treed watercourses in dry areas, riverine forest, woodland, all environments with flowering trees and bees. They can also adapt to plantations and orchards. The most fascinating feature of the greater honeyguide is their ability to locate bee hives and wait for potential symbionts, (mainly humans) to approach or pass by. This guiding behaviour is inherited, not learned. Song posts are used year round.

Honeyguides initiate a 'chatter' whilst perched on a branch, in the hope of attracting attention. Once noticed, they will fly to another perch performing an exaggerated flight path en-route. It will then watches and waits for the human to follow. This process is repeated until a change in behaviour indicates the location of the hive. The honeyguide will turn back if not followed. There skills will then be rewarded when the hive is opened, waiting patiently for their reward. Chacma baboons and honeybadgers are believed to follow this process although no sightings of these actions have ever been recorded of a honeyguide leading any other mammal to a hive other than a human being.

Distribution: Absent from most of Namibia less for isolated populations, such as the wooded regions of Waterberg Plateau.

Diet: Eats bees' eggs, larvae and wax, ants and beetles.

Description: Olive grey or brown plumage with other colours making it distinct from other honeyguides. The bill is black or brownish and the legs and feet grey to purplish grey.

Breeding: 4 to 7 eggs are laid in hole nests or alien nests.

Size: 20cm. Weight: 50g.

Black Thorn Self Drive

3 Days - A short visit to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei

Welwitschia Self Drive

3 Days - Get away to Swakopmund on the coast - includes sandboarding on the Namib Dunes as well as a dolphin cruise

Moringa Self Drive

4 Days - A game viewing trip to the famous Etosha National Park

Acacia Self Drive

8 Days - Combines a visit to Etosha National Park, with some time at Swakopmund and then the dunes at Sossusvlei

Marula Self Dive

9 Days - Southern Namibia: Fish River, Luderitz, Sossusvlei with some self catering accommodation.

Camelthorn Self Drive

10 Days - The classic northern and central Namibia trip. Includes Waterberg Plateau, Etosha National Park, rock art in Damaraland, Cape Cross & Swakopmund and ends with two night near the dunes at Sossusvlei.

Jackalberry Self Drive

10 Days - A combination of Namibia & Botswana. Highlights include game viewing in the Etosha Park & a trip in a traditional dug out canoe in the Okavango Delta Panhandle.

Quiver tree Self Drive

14 Days - Two weeks worth of travel allow you to visit everything that is included in the Camelthorn Self Drive and add the vast expanses of southern Namibia. Additional stops include Luderitz, the Fish River Canyon and a night in the Kalahari Desert

Makalani Self Drive

20 Days - This includes Waterberg, Etosha, a visit to the densely populated Owamboland region on the Angolan border, Kaokoland and the nomadic Himba People, rock art and desert elephants in Damaraland, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Luderitz, the Fish River and Kalahari.

Baobab Self Drive

20 Days - A circular route that includes Sossusvlei, the highlights of Northern Namibia, the Zambezi region and Chobe, Vic Falls and the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Namibia Tours