Protonym: Indicator variegatus TraitedOrn. livr.2 p.155
Taxonomy: Piciformes / Indicatoridae / Indicator
Taxonomy Code: scthon1
Type Locality: Africa.
Publish Year: 1830
IUCN Status: Least Concern
(Indicatoridae; Ϯ Greater Honeyguide I. indicator) L. indicator, indicatoris guide, one that points out < indicare to show < index, indicis sign, informer < in among; dicere to tell (cf. specific name Cuculus indicator Sparrman, 1777); "The Dutch settlers thereabouts have given this bird the name of Honiguyzer, or Honey-guide, from its quality of discovering wild honey to travellers ... Not only the Dutch and Hottentots, but likewise a species of quadruped named Ratel (probably a new species of Badger), are frequently conducted to wild bee-hives by this bird, which, as it were, pilots them to the very spot. The honey being its favourite food, its own interest prompts it to be instrumental in robbing the hive, as some scraps are commonly left for its support" (Sparrman in Stephens 1815); "INDICATOR. HONEY-GUIDE ... THE Honey-guides form a very peculiar genus ... the feathers are short, hard, and pressed close to the body: the skin is thick, and the fibres so close that it is difficult to pierce it even with a pin, an admirable provision of nature to guard these birds against the stings of bees, as it forms an almost impenetrable coat of mail. Sparrman first described the Honey-guide, which he placed in the genus Cuculus, to which it is only related in having the toes placed two and two. ... SPARRMAN'S HONEY-GUIDE. (Indicator Sparrmanii.) ... GREAT HONEY-GUIDE. (Indicator major.) ... LITTLE HONEY-GUIDE. (Indicator minor.)" (Stephens 1815); "Indicator Stephens, in Shaw's Gen. Zool., 9, pt. 1, 1815, p. 131. Type, by tautonymy, Indicator Sparrmanii Stephens = Cuculus indicator Sparrman." (Peters 1948, VI, 65). The Greater Honeyguide is well known for leading mammals (especially the Ratel and man) to bees’ nests, enabling the stronger mammal to break open the nests and benefit from the honey, whilst the honeyguide eats the grubs, bees, and wax. Local superstition demands that some token honey is left for the honeyguide, otherwise it will next lead the searcher to stumble upon a hidden leopard or venomous snake.
Synon. Melignostes, Melignothes, Meliphagus, Melipodagus, Morocus, Prodotes, Pseudofringilla, Pseudospiza.
L. indicator, indicatoris guide, one that points out < indicare to show < index, indicis sign, informer < in among; dicere to tell.
● “Greenish above, greyish below, which with white tail make it look like large honeyguide” (Keith et al. (ed.) 1992) (Baeopogon).
variegatum / variegatus
L. variegatus variegated < variare to variegate < varius various, diverse.
● ex “Actenoïde variée” of Hombron & Jacquinot 1846 (syn. Actenoides hombroni).
● ex “Variegated Sandpiper” of Latham 1785 (syn. Aphriza virgata).
● ex “Grive 2da” of Fermin 1769, and “Variegated Thrush” of Latham 1783 (syn. Campylorhynchus turdinus).
● ex “Tinamou varié de Cayenne” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 828, “Tinamou varié” of de Buffon 1770-1783, and Bajon 1777, and “Variegated Tinamou” of Latham 1783 (Crypturellus).
● ex “Coucou tacheté de l’île de Panay” of Sonnerat 1776 (syn. Eudynamys scolopaceus mindanensis).
● ex “Grand Indicateur, femelle” of Levaillant 1806 (Indicator).
● ex “Garza varia” of de Azara 1802-1805, no. 361 (syn. Ixobrychus involucris).
● ex “Mésange Grisette” of Levaillant 1803, pl. 138 (syn. Melaniparus cinerascens).
● ex “Guêpier à collier gros-bleu” or “Guêpier Sonnini” of Levaillant 1807 (Merops).
● ex “Courly tacheté de l’isle de Luçon” of Sonnerat 1776 (subsp. Numenius phaeopus).
● ex “Râle tacheté de Cayenne” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 775, and “Variegated Rail” of Latham 1785 (syn. Pardirallus maculatus).
● ex “Averano” of de Buffon 1770-1783 (syn. Procnias averano).
● “It has been pointed out to me by Mr. T. Iredale that the name Tetrao variegatus Burchell ... is preoccupied by Tetrao variegatus Gmelin ..., bestowed on the Variegated Tinamou of Latham, and now known as Crypturus variegatus. As there appears to be no synonym for this distinct species of Sandgrouse, I propose to rename it after the discoverer” (W. Sclater 1922) (syn. Pterocles burchelli).
UPPERCASE: current genus
Uppercase first letter: generic synonym
● and ● See: generic homonyms
lowercase: species and subspecies
●: early names, variants, mispellings
†: type species
Gr.: ancient Greek
<: derived from
syn: synonym of
/: separates historical and modern geographic names
ex: based on
TL: type locality
OD: original diagnosis (genus) or original description (species)