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Lesser Honeyguide - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Max1
West Coast National Park, South Africa Nov ember 2019

Includes: Thick-billed Honeyguide

Indicator minor


14–16 cm (5½-6¼ in)

  • Greyish-green upperparts
  • White loral spot
  • White outer tail feathers visible in flight


Sub-Saharan Africa except for coastal West Africa, Congo Basin and desert areas in the Horn of Africa and southern Africa.


I. m. teitensis
Photo © by Alan Manson
Kruger National Park, South Africa, 22 September 2007


Indicator minor has 8 subspecies[1]:

The first two subspecies were formerly considered a separate species, Thick-billed Honeyguide, Indicator conirostris.


Woodland, savanna, forest edges, riverine forest, plantations, parks and wooded gardens; seldom strays far from cover.


This bird does not guide to bees nests but are frequently found around bee hives and nests. Are also able to catch insects in flycatcher fashion.


Their main diet consists of beeswax, with the addition of some bees, including sweatbees.


Like the other Honeyguides it is a brood parasite of other hole and cavity nesters such as barbets and bee-eaters. Honeyguide chicks hatch with a pronounced hook to the bill-tip which they use to wound & kill the young of the host species.


Characteristic hip, hip, hip" repeated up to 40 times. The two subspecies formerly considered the Thick-billed Honeyguide were described as having a deeper voice than other subspecies, more "twip twip twip".


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Avibase
  4. Short, L.L., J. F. M. Horne, G. M. Kirwan, N. Moura, and P. F. D. Boesman (2022). Lesser Honeyguide (Indicator minor), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (B. K. Keeney and S. M. Billerman, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.y00400.01

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