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Yellow and red billed on Giraffe

Yellow and red billed on Giraffe
Photo Information
Copyright: Ralf Lukovic (ralfsworld) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 492 W: 93 N: 1903] (6560)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-07-19
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 20D, Canon 100-400L 4.5-5.6 IS USM
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds' interaction with different bird species [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-29 2:04
Viewed: 5534
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Captured from a car handhold @ 400mm in Serengeti area, Tanzania. On this image you can see 3 different species. I start with biggest which is giraffes back and it is two yellowbilled oxpeckers and one Redbilled oxpecker. Not so bad for one photo with both species. I hope you like it :)

Some info about oxpeckers:

The oxpecker consists of two species of bird which make up the family Buphagidae; some ornithologists regard them as a subfamily Buphaginae within the starling family Sturnidae but they appear to be quite distinct (see e.g. Zuccon et al. 2006). Oxpeckers are endemic to sub-Saharan African savannah.

According to the more recent studies of Muscicapoidea phylogeny (Cibois & Cracraft 2004, Zuccon et al. 2006), the oxpeckers are an ancient line related to Mimidae (mockingbirds and thrashers) and starlings but not particularly close to either. Considering the known biogeography of these groups, the most plausible explanation seems that the oxpecker lineage originated in Eastern or Southeastern Asia like the other two (Zuccon et al. 2006). This would make the two species of Buphagus something like living fossils, and elegantly demonstrates that such remnants of past evolution can possess striking and unique autapomorphic adaptations.

* Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus of east Africa
* Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus of most of sub-saharan Africa.

Their plumage is light brown, and the species can be distinguished by bill-colour. They nest in holes, often in walls, lined with hair plucked from livestock and lay 2-3 eggs.

Oxpeckers are medium-sized starlings with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are fairly gregarious. Their preferred habitat is open country, and they eat insects. Both the English and scientific names arise from their habit of perching on large mammals (both wild and domesticated) such as cattle or rhinoceroses, and eating ticks, botfly larvae, and other parasites which lodge in mammalian skin and must be dug out. This symbiotic relationship was once believed to be mutualistic.

Their favorite food, though, 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 and disease. Thus, what was once thought to be a symbiotic relationship, may at the same time, be a parasitic relationship.

Source: wiki

Rolf, kjpweb, uleko, pvs, K9madtex, vanderschelden, Necipp, Adanac, CeltickRanger, marhowie, Janice has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2008-01-29 2:14]

Nice shot! I like the scene and wonderful exposure and detail.

  • Great 
  • Rolf Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 27] (196)
  • [2008-01-29 2:30]

Hi Ralf
Nice presentation of this two species on the same photo.

Excellente scène de famille sur fond vivant.
Bonne journée.

Hi Ralf,

très bonne composition avec le dos de la girafe sur la diagonale... Très bonne prise de vue.
TFS, regards

What a cool shot with a most unusual POV. Great in every aspect! Kudos, Ralf!
Cheers, Klaus

Hi Ralf,

What an composition! Natural diagonal composition with front and back of birds!Nice and clear shot! Very well captured!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-29 6:11]

Hej Ralf,
Brilliant capture!! Lovely to see the two species of Oxpeckers here, they look really great on the back of the Giraffe. Nice thorny tree in the background and very well composed too.
TFS and cheers, Ulla

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-29 6:19]

Hi Ralf,

A great upload,well seen and captured,I like the way how you composed this capture,a nice diagonal and great colors of the back of this giraffe,well done and tfs


Nice job capturing this interaction of species. Nice composition with the giraffe barely visible and the grouping of three birds. Nicely done.

Hello Ralf you did a fine job of composing the shot, excellent variety of colourfull birds together really beautifull. Good sharpness and detail tfs rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2008-01-29 11:04]

Hi Ralf
extremely nice use of fill in flash

Hello Ralf,
what a perfect capture from giraffa back. You captured these beautiful birds excellently. Focus, natural colors, POV/DOF, composition, lighting and BG of beautiful patterns on dorsum of giraffa and spiny branches great. thanks for sharing. all the best

  • Great 
  • viv Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 292 W: 3 N: 653] (3317)
  • [2008-01-29 12:37]

Hi Ralf,
Great moment that you had with this two species.
Very special

hello Ralf

superb and funny capture, i love it, looking at the birds
on a little part of the giraffe, it show's us how LARGE
is the giraffe, the composition is great with excellent
density and contrast of the colours, TFS


This is great Ralf,
A wonderful closeup view of the giraffes coat/patterns, and three birds all posing with front, back, and side views!
Very well done!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-01-30 8:13]

Hello Ralf,
Very nice photo with these Oxpeckers. Great sharpness and beautiful colours. The composition is fantastic.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-01-30 9:59]

Hi . just got home late again from work so just a quick word to say good picture TFS.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-01 21:36]

Hello Ralf,
Beautiful, beautiful composition Ralf with great camera work, thank you.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-02-04 19:42]

Oh, what a shot!! Good one Ralf. These guys look so cute sitting there on the giraffe's back. I like hjow you have the 2 species there together like this.
Well done

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-02-11 7:40]

Hello Ralf, what a shot! Splendid! Perfect composition, great idea and very good technique, thanks!


What I truly love about this photo is that although the oxpeckers are very nice in this shot, I really love the colors and patterns on this giraffe's back. Beautiful to see the markings so close. It's truly stunning and just gorgeous! Really nicely captured my you.

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