53 best Oxpeckers. images on Pinterest | Wild animals, Animals beautiful and Beautiful birds
14 Oct. az-links.info 2 types: yellow and red billed; Diet: blood of bison, giraffes, zebras, and. The oxpeckers are two species of birds -- the red-billed oxpecker and the yellow- billed the large, hoofed mammals of the area: giraffes, antelope, zebra, Cape buffalo and rhinoceroses. There are various types of symbiotic relationships. We photographed the big 5 on my last photo safari today, lets look at the Cape Buffalo.
Mutualism Between the Oxpecker and the Zebra by Brie Williams on Prezi
Their legs are also well adapted to a life spent perched on mammals. The legs are shortened to enable them to grip onto their moving hosts. It is a fairly common bird, found in the savannah grassland and bushveld regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia and Somalia all the way down to Mozambique and the north-eastern parts of South Africa. The only other species in the Buphagidae family, the yellowbilled oxpecker, is far less common.
At one stage it became extinct in South Africa, but in recent times it has naturally re-established itself from the north into the Kruger National Park and its environs. Redbilled oxpeckers only occur where there are animal hosts for the species of insects — mostly ticks — that the birds eat.
66 best Friends With Benefits images on Pinterest | Birds, Red bill and Mammals
The hosting animals are generally antelope like impala or kudu, or larger mammals such as zebra, giraffe, buffalo and rhino. In farmland areas, the hosts can also be domestic stock such as cattle. Elephants and a few species of small antelope will not tolerate the birds at all. The redbilled oxpecker is a starling sized-bird.
Although it is a fairly plain olive-brown with creamy under-parts, the bird is very easy to identify. Adults have totally red beaks and distinctive yellow rings around their bright red eyes.
Sabi Sabi Wild Facts: Redbilled Oxpeckers Part 1
They have strong legs and long, particularly sharp claws which enable them to cling onto the sides and backs of their hosts at precarious angles. They also have short, stiff tails which are used as props.
Aside from the colour, it is in the shape and action of their beaks that one sees the biggest differences between the two oxpecker species.
The yellow billed oxpecker uses its stout beak to pluck parasites off its hosts. The red billed cousin uses its slimmer, flatter beak in a scissor-like motion to remove its meals. This same sharp beak is also used to peck at any sores or scabs on the host.
Oxpecker stock photos
Mutualism There are various types of symbiotic relationships. Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship that benefits both organisms. In the case of the relationship between the oxpecker and his bison-like hosts, the oxpecker benefits from having a steady supply of food, while the host benefits from having parasites cleaned from her body.
Some scientists debate if the relationship truly is mutual however, as the host does not benefit in the same way, if at all, as the oxpecker. Animals, such as the elephant and topi, actively brush away oxpeckers, signalling that there may be little benefit to their relationship. Semi-Parasitic The red-billed oxpecker in particular is suspect of being semi-parasitic.
The reduction in tick-load of the host animals for the oxpeckers has not been overwhelming. The oxpecker is inclined to eat ticks that already have fed on the host and, therefore, are full of blood; this fails to help the host. The oxpecker's inclination to eat the blood and wound tissues of his host is argued in two directions: Studies support both arguments, and an official labeling of the oxpecker as parasitic has not occurred.