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Red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers in Africa



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The oxpeckers are two species of bird which make up the family Buphagidae. Some ornithologists regard them as a subfamily Buphaginae within the starling family Stumidae but they appear to be quite dis

Red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers in Africa Description

The oxpeckers are two species of bird which make up the family Buphagidae. Some ornithologists regard them as a subfamily Buphaginae within the starling family Stumidae but they appear to be quite distinct. Oxpeckers are endemic to the savana of Sub Saharan Africa.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.

Diet

Oxpeckers feed exclusively on the backs of large mammals. Certain species are seemingly preferred, whereas others, like the lichtenstein’s hartebeest or Topi are generally avoided. Smaller antelope such as lechwe, duikers and reedbuck are also avoided; the smallest regularly used species is the impala probably because of the heavy tick load and social nature of that species. In many parts of their range they now feed on cattle, but avoid camels. They feed on ectoparasites ,particularly ticks, as well as insects infecting wounds and the flesh and blood of some wounds as well.

 


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