Brown-backed Honeybird ( Prodotiscus regulus, family: Indicatoridae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Sharp-billed Honeyguide

The Brown-backed Honeybird (Latin name Prodotiscus regulus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 478 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 127 also a picture of the Brown-backed Honeybird on page 144. The Brown-backed Honeybird belongs to the family of birds classified as Indicatoridae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Brown-backed Honeybird is also known by these other names: Wahlberg's Honeybird, Brown-backed Honeyguide, Wahlberg's Honeyguide.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Brown-backed Honeybird was called the Sharp-billed Honeyguide

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Brown-backed Honeybird is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare resident

In terms of distribution of the Brown-backed Honeybird in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Brown-backed Honeybird : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Brown-backed Honeybird is a small bird about the size of a house sparrow. Do not take this relative indicator as anything other than a rough easy to remember indicator. It is not a accurate visualization. The height of the Brown-backed Honeybird is about 13 cms and its weight is about 14 gms

The male and female Brown-backed Honeybird have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is grey.
  • Eye is grey.
  • Bill is brown.
  • Throat is white.
  • Back is grey.
  • Legs are grey.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Brown-backed Honeybird feeds on wing mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Brown-backed Honeybird takes on more than a single mate (it is bigamous).

The nesting habit of Brown-backed Honeybird is to use the nest of another bird. The surrogate family then raise the chicks. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 4

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Brown-backed Honeybird are: woodlands and grasslands

You will normally see the Brown-backed Honeybird by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Skerpbekheuningvol

German ... Schmalschnabel-Honiganzeiger

Portuguese ... Indicador-de-bico-aguado

French ... Indicateur de Wahlberg

Dutch ... Bruinrug-Honingspeurder

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 478

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,