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Species Guide
A photo of a Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus)
Yellow-rumped Honeyguide

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide

Indicator xanthonotus

The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Indicator xanthonotus, is a sparrow-sized avian resident of the honeyguide family, boasting a robust finch-like bill. Its plumage is predominantly dusky olive, with a striking deep orange rump that transitions to a sulphur yellow towards the back. The forehead and lores are adorned with an orange hue, while the wing feathers exhibit a streaked pattern. The chin and throat are tinged with yellow, and the lower plumage is a pale grey with dark streaks. The bill is a notable yellow, darkening towards the tip.

Identification Tips

Males can be distinguished by their more vibrant facial yellow and the orange extension on their rump. Females, on the other hand, display less yellow on the face and a purely yellow rump without the orange hue. The species is characterized by twelve tail feathers and nine primary feathers, with a long and pointed wing structure.


This species is found in montane forests, favoring coniferous and dry-deciduous woodlands interspersed with rocky boulders and cliffs. They may exhibit altitudinal movements in response to seasonal changes.


The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide graces the Himalayan regions, with sightings from northern Pakistan through India, Nepal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Bhutan, extending to southeastern Tibet and northern Myanmar. However, populations in certain areas such as northern Pakistan may have dwindled or disappeared.


Males are known to be territorial, often found near honeycombs, while females and juveniles forage more broadly. The species is polygynous, with males allowing females and their young into their territories after mating. Their flight is typically straight and direct, occasionally undulating, and they may travel in flocks of up to 30 individuals. When feeding at honeycombs, they exhibit a unique behavior of clinging tightly and pressing their tail against the comb surface.

Song & Calls

The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide emits a chipping call during flight and when agitated.


This species engages in brood parasitism, laying eggs in the nests of tree-hole breeders, possibly barbets. The exact host species for this honeyguide remains unknown. The young are equipped with bill-hooks to eliminate the host's eggs and chicks.

Similar Species

There are no similar species mentioned in the provided content.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of the foundation wax of Apis laboriosa, which attaches the comb to rocks. They are adept at feeding on active beehives with minimal disturbance to the bees.

Conservation status

The Yellow-rumped Honeyguide is currently classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it faces threats that could lead to its vulnerability in the near future.

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