Yellow-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus a. africanus) are small, 8" (20cm) birds, found in Kenya's Masai Mara and other small pocketed areas or game reserves. They are far less common that the Red-billed Oxpecker.

Yellow-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?!

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, kenya, oxpecker, wildlife, yellow-billed oxpecker

Yellow-billed Oxpecker ~ Flying

Buffalo head, flicking Yellow-billed Oxpecker in the air.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker ~ & Buffalo

Yellow-billed Oxpecker perched between horns of Buffalo.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker ~ Perched

Yellow-billed Oxpecker perched on back of Cape Buffalo.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker ~ Dust Bath

Yellow-billed Oxpecker taking a dust-bath.