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Either of two African starlings (Buphagus africanus or B. erythrorhyncus) that feed on ticks and other insects found on the hides of large wild or domestic animals. Also called tickbird.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Animals) either of two African starlings, Buphagus africanus or B. erythrorhynchus, having flattened bills with which they obtain food from the hides of cattle. Also called: tick-bird
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈɒksˌpɛk ər)

either of two African starlings of the genus Buphagus, noted for their habit of alighting on hoofed mammals to feed on ticks.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Johan pointed out to me the sound of ox-pecker birds (tick eating birds that accompany buffalo) directly ahead of us and that the sound seemed to be slowly moving to our left.
We found buffalo on the first day of the hunt, were downwind from the them from the beginning making them totally unaware of our presence, the ox-peckers gave away the location and direction of travel of the buffalo, the last of the small group had just passed when we came up from behind (we could have walked right into the middle of their parade), and the last animal was a huge old cow, which was just what we were hunting.
Interestingly, various bird species play an important role in controlling tick populations, especially guinea fowl and ox-peckers. So apart from the many more obvious threats facing large predators such as lions, they also need to have strong auto-immune systems to survive in the wild against disease-bearing micro pathogens.