What is a honey guide?

  The guide bird, or honey guide, is a bird related to the barbet and woodpecker. The toes are arranged in pairs for climbing. The head is large and the bill is heavy. There are a dozen species in the family. One inhabits India; another is found in Malacca; a third in Borneo. The rest are birds of South Africa. The Latín or systematic name is indicator, referring to the desire of these birds to point out the place where bees have stored honey. They are fond of bees' grubs, but can't get at them always. A honey guide will attract the attention of a traveler or hunter and flit on from tree to tree, leading the way to a hollow tree or crevice in a rock where a swarm of bees is at work. The guide sits patiently by for a share of the proceeds. Sometimes the swarm is difficult to locate after the guide has indicated the vicinity. In that case the guide is likely to lead off for a second swarm. The indicator is no judge of property. As like as not he will lead the honey hunter into someone's bee yard. He is charged also with practical joking. It is said that he will at times lead an eager bee hunter into the presence of a leopard, a rhinoceros, or a lion, and make off with a jeering laugh like that of a parrot.