‘Honey-guide’ is also used in U.S. English of American species.
Not all species of honey-guide lead man to bees’ nests.
1777A. Sparrman inPhil. Trans. of Royal Soc.LXVII. 43The Dutch settlers thereabouts have given this bird the name of Honig-wyzer, or Honey-guide, from its quality of discovering wild honey to travellers.
1786Chambers’s Cycl.Cuculus indicator, a species of cuckow found in the interior parts of Africa..called by the Dutch settlers honig-wyzer or honey-guide.
1798Sporting Mag.XII. 89A remarkable bird called the Honeyguide.
a1827D. Carmichael inW.J. HookerBotanical Misc. (1831) II. 37The hive is usually revealed to them by a bird, called, on this account, the Honey-guide, (Cuculus Indicator).
1841B. ShawMemorials 325Sparrman offered the natives..an ample recompense if they would assist him in catching a honey-guide, but they rejected the proposal, saying, ‘the bird is our friend’.
1857D. LivingstoneMissionary Trav. 547We began to be frequently invited by the honey-guide (Cuculus indicator)...I am quite convinced that the majority of people who commit themselves to its guidance are led to honey.
1897H.A. BrydenNature & Sport 92We had with us the little honey-guides, those strange feathered friends (also numbered among the cuckoos) which insist — not entirely from disinterested motives — in conducting mankind to the nests of bees.
1905W.L. Sclater inFlint & GilchristScience in S. Afr. 141The Honey Guides (Indicatoridae)..are remarkable for the fact that they will lead the traveller to the situation of bees’ nests in the hope of sharing with him some of the spoil in the shape of honey or wax.
1927E.N. MaraisRd to Waterberg (1972) 84The honey-guide, like the cuckoo, is a parasite. It never makes its own nest and never rears its own young.
1949L.G. GreenIn Land of Afternoon 161Bushmen and Hottentots always leave a share of the honey for the honey guide. They say it is a vindictive bird which will lead the way to a snake or a leopard next time if it is cheated.
1953R. CampbellMamba’s Precipice 39The bird was a honey-guide; a bird which lives on honey and bees. It calls both human beings and honey badgers or ratels, and guides them..to hives..which require to be dug out from difficult places either in the ground or in hollow trees.
1971K.B. NewmanBirdlife in Sn Afr. (1979) 18The honeyguides...are small, inconspicuous birds whose drab appearances conceal some interesting and unique behaviour...They have a special predilection for beeswax, and are the only known birds able to digest and benefit from it.
1985Flying Springbok July 64The honey-guide waits above while the bee-hunters rob the hive...The birds have thick skins to protect them from the bees’ stings. It has been suggested that this man-bird relationship is an example of co-evolution.
Any of several small tropical birds of the Indicatoridae, especially Indicator indicator (the greater honey-guide), which feeds on insects, honey, and beeswax, and guides man (and possibly other mammals) to bees’ nests; bee-cuckoo; honey-bird; honey-sucker1; honing-wijzer; indicator; Sparm. Also attributive.
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