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Red-billed oxpecker

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Red-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) also have sharp claws and short legs adapted for clinging onto to large mammals. In addition to the host animals associated with its yellow-billed counterpart, this species also cling to warthog, common waterbuck. The hosting restriction in the Caprivi Strip also apply.

Distribution: North-eastern Namibia only, notably along the Kavango and Kwando Rivers. Common in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve.

Diet: All food is taken from host's body surface. Eats mostly ticks and feeds on wounds, often keeping injury open to encourage blood flow, which at the same time keeps the area free from infection.

Description: Dark brown upperparts, dark brown wings, red bill and eyes, black legs and feet. Erythrorhynchus is Greek for 'red-billed'. Slightly small, and often confused with the yellow-billed oxpecker.

Breeding: From 2 to 5 eggs are laid October to December and incubated by both male and female for around 13 days. Tree holes are lined with hair from hosts, along with dung, rootlets and grass.

Size: 20cm. Weight: 50g.

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Namibia Tours