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Symbiotic

Damienne Bingham

Joined September 2007

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Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus)
Burchell’s Zebra (Equus quagga)

Taken at the Kapama Cheetah Project
Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa. 2009

Canon EOS 400D
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
RAW. As is.





The Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus, is a passerine bird in the starling and myna family Sturndidae. It is native to the savannah of sub-Saharan Africa, from the Central African Republic east to Sudan and south to northern and eastern South Africa.

The preferred habitat is open country, and the Red-billed Oxpecker eats insects. The name arises from this species’ habit of perching on large wild and domesticated mammals such as cattle and eating ticks. An adult will take nearly 100 engorged ticks, or more than 12,000 larvae in a day.

However, their favorite food is blood, and while they may take on ticks bloated with blood, they also feed on it directly, pecking at the mammal’s wounds to keep them open to more parasites. So, what good the bird does for the mammal is negated by it keeping the wounds open to parasites and disease. (care of Wikipedia)


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