Red-billed Oxpecker

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image: rboxpecker.jpg

Common Name: Red-billed Oxpecker

Scientific Name: Buphagus erythrorhynchus

Size: 8 inches (20cm)

Habitat: Africa; SW Central African Republic, Southeastern Angola, Zambia, Congo Zaire, Southeastern Sudan, Ethiopa, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Northeastern Nambia, Eeastern Botswana, Southern Mozamique and Malawi in open savannah

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: unknown. Not threatened and common within it’s range.

Diet: Ticks and other insects.

Breeding: Male and female look alike. Oxpeckers are monogamous. Nesting occurs in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays 2-5 red eggs.

Cool facts: The Oxpecker is a solitary bird. Feeds on insects, primarily ticks, on large mammals. There is some dispute in scientific circles whether the Oxpecker helps to remove parasites from his host mammals or is a parasite itself. Oxpeckers are also known to create and keep wounds open on its host to attract insects and feed on the mammals’ blood as well. There is also in question whether the Oxpecker keeps tick populations in check. In areas where the related and endangered Yellow-billed Oxpecker is found, the absence of the Yellow-billed has been correlated with more tick-based diseases amongst human populations.


Found in Songbird ReMix Africa

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