Red-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) are small, 8" (20cm) birds, found throughout Kenya. They are more common than the Yellow-billed Oxpecker.

Red Billed Oxpeckers, sit on mammals, including Rhino & Cape Buffalo, eating the earwax, bugs, ticks and insects from these huge mammals. Their diet also includes dead skin, mucus, saliva, sweat, and tears. They also collect loose hairs, to line their nests in holes in a trees.

Their preferred food is actually the blood of mammals and they will peck away at sores, keeping them open, for parasites to grow. So they actually prolong the healing period of wounds. They will also eat up to 100 blood-engorged ticks, or more than 12,000 larvae in a day.

Are these birds - or vampires?!

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Keywords:bird, kenya, oxpecker, red-billed oxpecker, wildlife

Red-billed Oxpecker

Red-billed Oxpecker on a Black Rhino.