Family

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Honeyguides are fairly small tropical birds that are related to woodpeckers and barbets. Their most visible features are the dark stripe on the cheeks (on some species) and the white on the outer tail feathers (on all species). They have drab-colored plumage (feathers) of olive-greens, grays, browns, black, and white, with some signs of yellow, depending on the species. Males and females look alike with respect to their plumage, except for three species. Two species have yellow wing patches, and one species has orange on the head and rump. Honeyguides have a short and sturdy bill (with most species having a raised rim on the nostrils to prevent liquid foods from entering), a long tail with very short feathers, which is marked with white bars and tipped in a dark color, and strong legs with strong zygodactyl (zye-guh-DACK-tuhl) toes (two toes [second and third] pointing forward and two toes [first and fourth] facing backward). They have long and hooked claws and long, narrow, and pointed wings. They also have very good senses of sight, sound, and smell. Adults are 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) long and weigh between 0.4 and 1.9 ounces (10 and 55 grams).

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Honeyguides are found in the temperate (mild) and tropical parts of Africa south of the Sahara. In addition, two species are found along the southern foothills of the Himalayas and in Southeast Asia.

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