Half the enjoyment of watching wildlife is in the interactions between the species. Oxpeckers and impala (Aepyceros melampus) are never very far apart, and for good reason. The impala provides a roaming buffet of ticks and parasites for the oxpecker to enjoy. The oxpecker on the other hand offers a hand up to the impala in the detection of predators and danger. It’s a fine dance between the two that at times reflects the intracies of human relationships, needing to give and take, putting up with momentary irritating mannerisms and intrusions in order to enjoy the benefits the other brings to the table. This poor impala looks like it just got impaled by the overzealous oxpecker, but they soon settled down again, each providing the other what they needed in the mutually beneficial relationship.

Kruger National Park, South Africa


bird, safari, wildlife, wilderness, africa, mammal, relationship, impala, oxpecker

Although Canadian by birth, I grew up in Africa and from an early age travel became a regular part of my life. As a result I developed an early passion for my two great loves, Africa and aviation. Being fortunate to return to Africa every year with our own safari company “Explorations Africa”, all of my photos of wildlife are taken in their natural and unstaged settings. Please visit us at

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  • Ellen Cotton
    Ellen Cottonover 4 years ago

    Magnificent image!!!!!!! Gorgeous!!!

  • Thanks ellcot.

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • laurav
    lauravover 4 years ago

    Lovely image!

  • Glad you like it!

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • carol brandt
    carol brandtover 4 years ago

    top shot, dan, and beautifully focused… her expression is rather priceless but she still looks very beautiful with her lovely facial markings, huge brown doe-eyes, and those terrific eyelashes… fabulous side notes as usual… love the analogy with human relationships ~cheers! carol

  • Thanks Carol. Even though there’s multiplied thousands of these guys, how could you not love them??

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • ChrisCoombes
    ChrisCoombesover 4 years ago

    Great shot Dan

  • Dan MacKenzie
    Dan MacKenzieover 4 years ago

    Thanks Chris!

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesabout 4 years ago

  • Thanks Magaret!

    – Dan MacKenzie

    KAREN SCHMIDTabout 4 years ago

    Lovely soft texture…I love impala. Even though they are so common, they have such expressive faces.

  • Thanks Karen. There’s so much about the ‘common’ that is so wonderfully ‘uncommon’ when we hang around long enough to enjoy it.

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesabout 4 years ago

    Adrian & Maggie

  • Thanks so much!

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 2 years ago

  • Helen Akerstrom Photography
    Helen Akerstro...about 2 years ago

  • Thanks so much Helen!

    – Dan MacKenzie

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