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Over thousands of years, honey hunters in northern Mozambique have forged a relationship with wild birds to find the location of bees' nests.
Pioneering work by the Kenyan ecologist Hussein Isack in the 1980s confirmed honeyguides communicate reliable information to humans about the location of bees' nests, and this greatly increased honey-hunters' harvests, said the study's lead author Dr Claire Spottiswoode of the University of Cambridge in the UK and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
In return, the greater honeyguide (Indicator indicator), which feeds from bees' nests, eating eggs, larvae and beeswax, relies on their human partner to crack open the hive.