The Myth of Honeyguiding

The bird known as the greater honeyguide got its name because it will lead people to beehives. You may have also heard that honeyguides will lead honey badgers to beehives. There was even a wildlife documentary that illustrated this behavior. The problem is... its not true!
The myth of the badger-guiding honeyguide began in 1785 with a man called Anders Sparrman, who had heard the story from local people. He never saw the actual behaviour first-hand. Neither had anyone else. In 1990, three ornithologists – Dean, Siegfried and Macdonald – wrote a paper debunking the honeyguide/honey badger story. In it, they wrote, “Naturalists and biologists have been active in Africa for more than 200 years. During this period, to the best of our knowledge, no biologist or naturalist, amateur or professional, has observed a Greater Honeyguide leading a Honey Badger to a beehive.”

Since 1990, Spottiswoode says that there still isn’t any evidence for badger-guiding, “despite some extensive studies of honey badgers in perfect honeyguide habitat in Mozambique.”

And the documentary? It was staged! Science writer Ed Yong was just as surprised to find this out as you are. Link

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News Flash: Scientists discover indigenous people enjoy fooling outsiders that ask too many questions.

Let's go on a snipe hunt this weekend. They run half way between the full and new moon in September.
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