Report on 2024 Lecture Evening – Wednesday 27th March ‘Show me the honey: the evolution of cooperation between people and wild birds’ Talk by Prof. Claire Spottiswoode


Cooperation between people and wild animals is rare. Yet in many parts of Africa, wax-eating birds called greater honeyguides (Indicator indicator) lead honey-hunters to the bees’ nests and both get their reward, with the humans harvesting the honey and the birds eating the wax. The fascinating part is how the interaction works. Human calls alert the birds to the fact the hunters are seeking help, and vary in different locations. It’s very clever, yet simple – and it works.

The speaker, Prof. Claire Spottiswoode, is an evolutionary biologist from the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town, and the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. She is passionate about her particular interest in the ecology, evolution and conservation of species interactions, so who better to inform and entertain us about this intriguing topic.

A report on the talk and links for further information are in the Spring 2024 Newsletter. Newsletter_Issue_38