Indicatoridae


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Indicatoridae

 

(honey guides), a family of birds of the order Piciformes. The body length measures 11-20 cm. The plumage is brownish, olive, or gray. The family comprises 11 species, which are distributed in Africa (south of the Sahara), the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. Arboreal birds, they inhabit forests and the savannahs. By their call and habits they attract baboons, honey badgers, and man to the nests of wild bees. The Indicatoridae feed on insects and their larvae, on honey, and on beeswax, which they are able to digest (they eat the combs of destroyed hives). Presumably, the tough skin and thick coarse plumage protect the birds from bee stings.

Like the cuckoos, the Indicatoridae are brood parasites and lay their eggs in the nests of barbets, bee-eaters, starlings, and silvereyes. The young hatch in 12-16 days and kill the young of the nest owners with special needle-sharp tips on their beaks; they leave the nest in 35-40 days.

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