Wahlberg's honeyguide

Prodotiscus regulus
Photo by Alan Manson (Flickr)

Common name:
Wahlberg’s honeyguide (en); indicador-de-bico-aguçado (pt); indicateur de Wahlberg (fr); indicador dorsipardo (es); Wahlberglaubpicker (de)

Order Piciformes
Family Indicatoridae

This African species is patchily distributed in western Africa, mostly in and around Nigeria, and more widely found in eastern  Africa, from Tanzania and southern D.R. Congo to Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.


These birds 15-18 cm long and weigh 12-16 g.

The Wahlberg’s honeyguide is mostly found in dry savannas, but also in dry grasslands, scrublands, open woodlands, forest edges and also in plantations and rural gardens. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They forage by gleaning insects from foliage, twigs and bark, taking aphids, tree hoppers, beetles, moths and caterpillars. They are also knonw to eat beeswax.

Wahlberg’s honeyguides breed in November-January. They are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, usually cisticolid warblers such as Cisticola fulvicapilla, C. aberrans, C. lais, C. chiniana, C. rufilatus, C. tinniens, Camaroptera brevicaudata, Prinia subflava, P. flavicans and P. maculosa. The female lays 1-3 eggs which are incubated by the host. The chicks are fed by the host and fledge 17-21 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)

This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common. The species is suspected to be expanding its range in parts of South Africa as a result of tree planting.

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