|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Photo taken during our recent visit to Kruger National Park. This bird is feeding on a giraffe.|
The Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus, is a passerine bird in the starling and myna family Sturndidae; some ornithologists regard the Oxpeckers to be in a family by themselves, the Buphagidae. 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 Red-billed Oxpecker nests in tree holes lined with hair plucked from livestock. It lays 2-5 eggs, with three being the average. Outside the breeding season it forms large, chattery flocks.
The Red-billed Oxpecker feeds on ticks found on other animals such as this impala
The preferred habitat is open country, and the Red-billed Oxpecker eats insects. Both the English and scientific names arise 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 female Boophilus decoloratus 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.
This is a medium-sized passerine, 20 cm long with strong feet. The Red-billed Oxpecker has plain brown upperparts and head, buff underparts and a pale rump. The bill is red, and adults have a yellow eyering, both clear distinctions from the related Yellow-billed Oxpecker. Its flight is strong and direct, and the call is a hissy crackling trik-quisss.
aruntp, bungbing, Mamagolo2 has marked this note useful
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excellent capture, and very interesting info,
congratulations for the picture,
have a nice day,
- [2011-06-19 22:32]
great image. all species are dependent on each other, a great example you shown. thanks for sharing. good clarity
- [2011-06-20 8:40]
Hi Peter,this is a great scoop,and the background made in giraffe skin is very original and maybe a first time on TN..ehee...magnificent oxpecker,great great sharpness,timing and colors.Nice to see something to different on TN!Thanks for share,have a nice week,Luciano.
Very nice captured of this bird, lovely natural colours and very interesting info, really nice nature shot,
Thanks for sharing and have a goodnight,
Great minds think alike because I've also got some shots like this one. It's difficult to get these birds to sit still so what better shot than on a giraffe. I'll place mine later. I like the way the bird stands out against the giraffe. Very well done my friend. Good notes too.