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