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Red-billed oxpecker on a Grevy's zebra in Samburu National Reserve. Javier Yanes/
Red-billed oxpecker
'Buphagus erythrorhynchus'
Swahili: Shashi domo-jekundu

Best parks to see it: Widespread

Common and widespread throughout the country below 8,200 ft (2,500 m), except at the south coast. Most often it can be seen perching on the fur of wild mammals or even cattle, where it feeds on skin parasites. However the oxpecker's biology is a complex issue, and the traditional notion that its diet habits were beneficial for mammals is now discredited. Leaving aside the advantage of their alarm calls for their hosts, some experts consider that oxpeckers are vampire birds and hence parasites, since they also consume blood and flesh from the wounds (and earwax as well). A research study proved that oxpeckers do not reduce the tick load of their hosts and that they slow wound healing.
Red-billed oxpecker on a Grevy's zebra in Samburu National Reserve. J.Y./


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