Family Honeyguides (Indicatoridae)

Least Concern

Lyre-tailed Honeyguide (Melichneutes robustus)


French: Indicateur à queue en lyre German: Leierschwanz-Honiganzeiger Spanish: Indicador lira

Melignomon robustus


, 1909,

Bitye, River Dja, Cameroon


Perhaps closest to I. indicator, but separated generically on basis of unique tail and undertail-coverts, as well as voice and behaviour. Monotypic.


Sierra Leone and Guinea#R E to S Cameroon, SE Central African Republic, N DRCongo and SW Uganda, S to N Angola and C & E DRCongo.

Descriptive notes

c. 16·5–18 cm; male 51·1–61·5 g, female 46·9–57 g. Dull colours with unique lyre-shaped tail diagnostic. Male with outward-... read more


In aerial display 10–30 loud, nasal “pee-pee” or “prrr prrr” sounds... read more


Evergreen and semi-evergreen primary forest and adjacent edges, logged forest, gallery and... read more

Food and feeding

Eats beeswax; also takes termites, other insects, spiders, and fig (Ficus) fruits. Foraging habits largely unknown, but is usually... read more


Season mainly inferred from aerial displays, but may display when not breeding; Oct–Dec in Sierra Leone, Nov–Apr in Liberia,... read more


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Little known, and only occasionally common in and near primary forest. Distribution known partly from display sounds alone; relatively few specimens... read more

Recommended citation

Short, L.L., Horne, J.F.M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Lyre-tailed Honeyguide (Melichneutes robustus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 15 October 2018).