Behavioral notes on the nest-parasitic Afrotropical honeyguides (Aves, Indicatoridae). American Museum novitates ; no. 2825

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New York, N.Y. : American Museum of Natural History
"New data from field studies of Afrotropical honeyguides, examination of label data from specimens in most of the major collections having honeyguides, and review of the literature are bases for updating the biology of Afrotropical honeyguides, last treated by Friedmann (1955). Three species (Prodotiscus zambesiae, Indicator meliphilus, and I. narokensis) have been elevated from subspecific status, and two new species (Melignomon eisentrauti, and Indicator pumilio) have been described since 1955. Emphasizing habitat, foraging habits, foods, interspecific behavior, acoustic and visual displays, hosts, and territoriality and breeding habits, new insights are provided into honeyguide biology, although much remains to be accomplished, and the biology of some species is virtually unknown. Honeyguiding habits seem restricted to Indicator indicator. At least some honeyguides (I. indicator, I. variegatus, and I. minor) are aggressive about sources of beeswax, with a dominance hierarchy inter- and intraspecifically. Exact pair relations largely remain to be elucidated, but evidence is presented that there is cooperation between individuals, hence extended pair bonds, assisting female honeyguides to enter well-defended nests of their hosts. Some lesser honeyguide (I. minor) males seek out duetting pairs of their barbet hosts, monitor them, and defend them against conspecific male honeyguides. Honeyguides parasitizing barbets monitor barbet activities about the barbets' roosting or nesting holes even in the nonbreeding periods. A nestling honeyguide (I. minor) was seen making its initial departure from its host's (Stactolaema anchietae) nest; a host barbet arriving to feed it shifted recognition from that of a (foster) nestling to that of a 'honeyguide,' and immediately and violently attacked the young honeyguide, which was driven out of the barbets' territory. Young honeyguides essentially must be able to fend for themselves when they exit from the nest. The destruction of the host's eggs or young, by the laying female honeyguide or later by the young honeyguide, is important to insure that the nestling honeyguide secures maximum feeding. The same lesser honeyguide situation involving that nestling provided evidence of continual monitoring of the nest by one and sometimes two lesser honeyguides right up until the fledging of the young honeyguide. The sight and sound of adult honeyguides thus may be familiar to a young honeyguide even before it leaves the hosts' nest. New vocal and visual displays are described for a number of honeyguides. For the sake of completeness, full lists of honeyguide hosts are provided for each species, and the information provided effectively summarizes what is known of Afrotropical honeyguides in 1984"--P. [1]-2.
46 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 44-46).