Relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

Oxpeckers and Rhinoceros - Syn Biosis

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

The relationship between oxpeckers and African ungulates has traditionally been . There was at least one oxpecker on each of the rhinos for % of the. It is ironic then that symbiotic mutualism -a relationship between existing between the African black rhinoceros and the oxpecker (buphagus. One example of a mutualistic relationship is that of the oxpecker (a kind of bird) and the rhinoceros or zebra. Oxpeckers land on rhinos or zebras and eat ticks.

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

The oxpeckers perform a symbiotic relationship with the large, hoofed mammals of the area: There is some debate as to whether the relationship between the oxpecker and its host truly is symbiotic, or whether the oxpecker is semi-parasitic. Cape Buffalo Benefits A bison -- in Africa this ox-like creature is known as the Cape buffalo -- that is serving as host to the oxpecker does receive some benefits, although the overall merit is speculative.

Rhinos and Oxpeckers by Beth Schwarz on Prezi

Ticks and other insects feasting on the buffalo are removed by the oxpecker. Oxpeckers leave no crevice untouched, and will even work their ways into their hosts ears to remove insects, earwax and parasites.

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

In addition, the oxpecker will eat diseased wound tissue, keeping wounds clean as they heal. Oxpeckers also will hiss when they become alarmed, and can alert their host --who is a prey mammal-- to potential danger.

This symbiotic relationship has no benefit to the rhino hosts, while the flies are "obligate parasites," which means they're dependent on the rhinos — they can't complete their life cycle without them. A Highly Visible Example of Symbiosis Oxpecker birds Buphagus erythrorhynchusalso called tickbirds, specialize in riding on large African animals, including rhinos and zebras, feeding on external parasites like the bot-fly larvae and ticks.

The International Rhino Foundation describes how mynah birds serve the same role on rhinos in India.

What Is the Relationship Between an Oxpecker & a Bison? | Animals -

The oxpeckers feast on the parasites they find, and they also lend the favor of raising a loud warning when a potential predator approaches. While the birds may hunt insects and ticks on their hosts — mutualistic behavior — they also peck at or create open wounds that can fester. They might eat loose dead skin, or peck at existing wounds to promote bleeding.

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

The rhinos would attempt to remove these birds by swishing their tails or shaking their legs. This is where the oxpecker, or tickbird, can be a big help.

Kifaru is also very shortsighted and has a hard time seeing enemies if they approach, but the oxpecker on Kifaru's back can, and provides some warning by hissing and screaming.

Because the rhino can survive without the tickbird, Kifaru is a facultative partner in this mutualistic relationship.

Rhinos & the Oxpecker Bird

Askari wa Kifaru The little oxpecker "askari wa kifaru" or "the rhino's guard" in Swahili "cleans" the rhino by plucking ticks from Kifaru's skin, but does so selectively; he prefers big, fat ticks that are already engorged with blood, ignoring the little ones that irritate Kifaru just as badly.

The oxpecker also searches any wounds or sores Kifaru may have and removes botfly larvae and other parasites, but in the process he also removes scabs and tissue, causing fresh bleeding. In fact, the oxpecker gets his blood meals as much directly from Kifaru himself as from the parasites he removes.

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros

This makes the tickbird the obligate partner, almost a parasite himself. He needs Kifaru with his parasite burden as a primary, if not a sole, food source.

relationship between oxpecker and rhinoceros