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Red-billed Oxpecker

Red-billed Oxpecker

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C. Schaal


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Red-billed Oxpecker

Kruger National Park, 2007


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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 most 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 the bird does good to the mammal, is negated by it keeping the wounds open to parasites and disease.
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Source: wikipedia.com

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