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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 ?
The report released this week by Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism, and sponsored by The Donkey Sanctuary, tracked the trade route of donkeys being smuggled from Ethiopia and into Kenyan slaughterhouses.
Two birds called red-billed oxpeckers are feasting on parasites that live in the ears of this impala, a medium- sized antelope from Africa.
This type of wound in free-ranging wildlife is normally attributed to an initial puncture by ticks and enlarged by oxpeckers, and frequently infested by fly larvae (Weeks 2000, Oberem and Oberem 2011).
"At least 60 billion rand [$4.6 billion] has been put up by mining companies for rehabilitation, but we've shown it is not being spent, and in fact no large mines have been closed in South Africa since 2011," says Fiona Macleod, founder of Oxpeckers Center for Investigative Environmental Journalism.
The oxpeckers, which are birds, eat ticks or other parasites off the skin of the zebras.
Suddenly a flock of noisy, red-billed oxpeckers flew overhead and abruptly dropped from the sky--a portent that the bulls were only a few yards from us.
"Buffalo are plagued by the oxpeckers' attentions as they poke and probe, feasting on bugs, dead skin, saliva, even earwax" - narrator (Natural World).
Oxpeckers not only feed upon invertebrate parasites, they are happy to consume bits of flesh and blood of their host animals while they are at it.
The oxpeckers (tickbirds) of Africa and brown-headed cowbirds of North America feed on ticks that they dig out of the hides of wild animals.
Reading "Do oxpeckers help or mostly just freeload?" (SN: 4/29/00, p.
The symbiotic relationship between oxpeckers (Buphagus spp.), the world's only obligate tick bird, and their African ungulate hosts, is well known.
The oxpeckers gobble up ticks and lice that suck blood from the mammals' skin.