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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 ?
This book presents a broad overview of animals from around the world that live off blood, including infamous bloodsuckers like mosquitoes and ticks, as wells as lesser known creatures like the Spanish madrilenial butterfly and the red-billed oxpecker. The text conveys scientific information in an easy-to-understand style, and each page has plenty of close range photos of various creeping, crawling, flapping, and swimming animals that suck blood for a living.
Moreover, we learn that America is a liberal nation, with conservatism being sometimes a pathological reaction to the modern world and other times a healthy partner with liberalism, like the oxpecker bird living symbiotically with the rhinoceros.
At one point, a heavy-bossed bull appeared with an oxpecker dangling precariously about its neck, collecting ticks and other insects that infested the bovine.
Millions of times a day across the African savanna, the red-billed oxpecker alights on the back of a friendly Cape buffalo, who hardly minds the company.
In the African dried-out savannah, Oscar and Spike meet Dora the rhino who has a dispute with Pecky, the oxpecker. The bird flies away, leaving the rhino and her little son without anyone to liberate them from vermin.
As it fed, four red billed oxpecker birds joined in picking at the tics in its skin.
The oxpecker pulls ticks off the giraffe; the seagull pries parasites off the skin of the sunfish; a group of mongoose pick a warthog's skin clean; and a small bird called a plover picks meat scraps from between the teeth of the Nile crocodile.
So--speaking of bird hunting--it was with some trepidation that I asked Don Causey, publisher of The Hunting Report, why his company was called Oxpecker Publications.
Ornamenting an impala is the red-billed oxpecker in Robin Brandt's picture.
A critical evaluation of the role played by the red-billed oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus in the biological control of ticks.