Discovering the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide: A Hidden Gem of Indian Birdlife


The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide is an intriguing bird species with its dusky olive plumage and a unique feeding behavior that focuses on honeycombs. Found mainly in the Himalayan regions of India, this bird has sparked the interest of many a bird lover. Known for its complex social systems and fascinating interactions with bee colonies, this bird has much more to offer than what meets the eye.This article provides a comprehensive guide to the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, including its physical characteristics and conservation status, highlighting its importance to India’s bird sanctuary and birdlife communities.

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameYellow-rumped Honeyguide
2BinomialIndicator xanthonotus
3ColourDusky olive with yellow and orange accents
4Average length (cm)Sparrow-sized
5Height (cm)Vertical length: Approx. 20 cm
6Type of birdForest
7Found in India in statesUttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh
8HabitatConiferous and dry-deciduous forests with rocky boulders and cliffs
9IUCN StatusNear Threatened

Features of the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide


The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, when measured from beak to tail, has a sparrow-like size, which can be quite deceiving for a bird of its capabilities. Bird image name databases often portray them as just another small bird, but their size does not do justice to their resilience. Their size aids in easy maneuvering around beehives, enabling them to acquire their unique diet of foundation wax from Apis laboriosa beehives. The wing feathers have a streaked appearance, contributing to its unique bird picture profile.


In terms of vertical height, this bird measures approximately 20 cm. Although bird shop near me options might not offer a life-like replica, the vertical length of this bird adds to its unique bird photos and bird png presence. The bird’s height allows it to cling to honeycombs with ease, making it easier to feed without disturbing the bee colonies. It’s a fascinating feature that makes it stand out in a bird sanctuary or birdlife sanctuary.

Running Speed

Surprisingly, the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide is not known for its running speed; rather, it’s its unique flying style that captivates bird lover enthusiasts. When agitated or in flight, it produces a chipping call and flies straight, sometimes even in flocks of 20 to 30 birds. A visit to a nearby bird shop might provide tools like binoculars that can help you catch this spectacle.


Its color scheme is a mesmerizing blend of dusky olive with accents of yellow and orange, particularly on its forehead and lores. Any bird image name directory showcasing the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide inevitably highlights this striking color combination. For the avid bird picture collector, this bird offers excellent opportunities for vibrant, eye-catching bird photos.

Habitat and Food of the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide

  1. Habitat: Found primarily in coniferous and dry-deciduous forests replete with rocky boulders and cliffs.
  1. Altitude: Known to make altitudinal movements seasonally.
  1. Feeding Behavior: Primarily feeds on the foundation wax of Apis laboriosa honeycombs.
  1. Bee Relationship: Utilizes the attacks of Vespa mandarinia on Apis laboriosa colonies for feeding.
  1. Local Availability: Relatively common in Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh, areas also known for their rich birdlife.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide practices a unique form of mating termed “resource-based non-harem polygyny”. Females build the nest, but males incubate eggs and care for young. Young honeyguides have bill-hooks with which they destroy the eggs and chicks of the host. This bird nest behavior offers a fascinating study for any bird house enthusiast.


Due to their specific habitat requirements, the Yellow-rumped Honeyguides are susceptible to habitat destruction. Pesticides and human intrusion into their bird sanctuary and birdlife sanctuary environments also pose significant threats. Bird migration changes due to climate change can further endanger them.

IUCN Status and Conservation

With a “Near Threatened” status on the IUCN Red List, the Yellow-rumped Honeyguide warrants urgent attention from bird conservation organizations and birdlife sanctuary establishments. Current conservation efforts focus on habitat protection and creating safe bird sanctuary spaces where these birds can thrive.


The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide is an astonishing bird that is much more than its bird image name or bird png can convey. For bird flying enthusiasts to bird shop owners, its unique features, feeding behavior, and the vital role it plays in our ecosystem make it a must-know for everyone interested in birdlife.

More info about Yellow-rumped Honeyguide – Link

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