Family Honeyguides (Indicatoridae)

Near Threatened

Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus)


French: Indicateur à dos jaune German: Gelbbürzel-Honiganzeiger Spanish: Indicador indio

Indicator xanthonotus


, 1842,



Closest relatives probably I. archipelagicus and I. indicator. Probably derived from early Asian invasion of Indicator from Africa, and originating from same ancestral stock as that which gave rise to I. archipelagicus; both have bright yellow (not always easily visible) in plumage and short outer rectrix, a combination of features shared only with African I. indicator. Birds from NE Assam, Nagaland and Manipur to N Myanmar described as race fulvus, reportedly darker and with less yellow on forehead than nominate#R, but considered largely inseparable from latter. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. x. radcliffii A. O. Hume, 1870 – NE Pakistan (presumed extinct), and Himalayan slopes of NW India, possibly to W Nepal.
  • I. x. xanthonotus Blyth, 1842 – Nepal E to NE India, SE Tibet and N Myanmar.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; male 29–34 g, female 25–31 g. Small-headed honeyguide with bright yellow in plumage. Male nominate race greenish grey, with yellow to gold... read more


    Little known, but apparently does not sing; calls include “weet” (apparently the... read more


    Rocky, wooded gorges and streams with cliffs having colonies of giant honeybee (Apis dorsata... read more

    Food and feeding

    Beeswax a staple food; also takes insects in flight, mostly smaller than bees, though reported to take some bees. Gathers at bees’ (... read more


    Apr–Jun; male observed visiting possible nest-site in midstorey of large broadleaf tree, mid-May in Bhutan. Male sets up territory... read more


    Some evidence for upslope, post-breeding movement, and some individuals probably migrate downslope... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Probably extinct in Pakistan, although it has also been suggested that records there reflected seasonal... read more

    Recommended citation

    Short, L.L., Horne, J.F.M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus). 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 February 2019).