Birds and honeybees seem to have found common ground and are joining forces in the illegal activity of looting bee hives. A new study published in the Journal Of Zoology presents the first large-scale analysis of this phenomenon. Researchers at the University of Cape Town conducted field observations, reviewed scientific literature, and interviewed local residents to uncover details about the cooperation of these animals.
Interestingly, most of the people interviewed in the study (80%) had never encountered this type of cooperation between honey birds and honey-eaters. However, some honey hunters shared their observations.
In Tanzania, hunters from three different settlements told stories of birds and honey-eaters working together to attack bee hives and ravage their contents. Such scenes were particularly common among the Hadza people, where 61 percent of those surveyed confirmed such cooperation.
The researchers speculate that certain populations of honeybees in Tanzania may have developed special skills necessary for successful cooperation with honeybee birds. This may explain why such cooperation was particularly common in this region.
However, there is another possibility. Honeycreepers may have started cooperating with honeycreepers, but then switched their attention to humans. This may be due to the fact that honeyeaters have very poor eyesight and hearing, making them less effective at finding hives.
Scientists note that it is extremely difficult to confirm or refute these theories. However, the study is the first step in understanding this unique cooperation between birds and honeybees.
The study has also sparked the interest of other scientists. Dr. Jane Smith, professor of zoology at the University of Cambridge, notes: “This is a very interesting discovery. Collaboration between different species of animals has always attracted the attention of the scientific community. It may be the key to understanding the evolution and adaptation of animals in different ecosystems.