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The oxpecker

21 November 2013

 

www.leopard.tvAt one time the oxpeckers all but disappeared in the wild due to the injudicious use of harmful acaricides, but populations have been re-established in many regions. There are two species of oxpecker in southern Africa, the yellow-billed one Buphagus africanus and the red-billed one Buphagus erythrorynchus. In distribution the yellow-billed oxpecker was historically limited to the extreme north-eastern parts of South Africa while the red-billed oxpecker occurred more further south, west and east in South Africa. They both, however, occur further north in southern Africa. The red-billed oxpecker also occurs elsewhere in central and eastern Africa but the yellow-billed oxpecker only occurs in southern Africa. The specific epithet africanus is Latin and means to come from Africa while erythrorynchus is Greek and means red-billed.

The two species of oxpecker look almost identical but the beak of the yellow-billed oxpecker has a yellow base and its eyes are surrounded by a large yellow spot. In the red-billed oxpecker this yellow spot is much smaller and the beak is entirely red, while its rump... (Become a subscriber for more)

 

Reference:

Hockey, P A R, W R J Dean and P G Ryan (eds) 2005. Roberts – birds of southern Africa, seventh edition. Cape Town: The John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, pp 973 – 974.

article by: Prof J du P Bothma

 

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