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That Bird Eats What??

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That Bird Eats What??

There are times when we look at the view on the cam and our jaw drops in awe as we realize we are watching something we may never see again...lion cubs wrestling, a stork gobbling down a frog, an elephant spewing water at a pair of Egyptian geese, and on and on.  And there are times when we watch and the person operating the camera takes us to new territory, new appreciation of the beauty that we thought we had already discovered.  

Friday, the zoomie zeroed in on some beautiful shots.  We saw baby wildebeests, three at last count.  There was a young male impala with a sleek coat and the beginnings of a nice set of horns, and a couple grown males sparring in the field.  Perhaps one of the best shots was the zebra, so close you could count the tiny stripes running up the back of his legs. 

And riding along on the zebra was the red billed oxpecker, a fascinating creature all its own.  The oxpecker spends its days eating insects off of grazing animals, including zebras, wildebeests, impalas and the like, ingesting as many as 100 engorged female ticks, or more than 12,000 larvae in a day. While this benefits the grazers greatly, the oxpeckers other habit can be more harmful to his host. The oxpeckers main food is blood, so if a host animal has an open wound, the oxpecker will feed from the wound, possibly keeping the wound open so that it can’t heal, canceling out the good it has done by eating the ticks.  During the breeding season, the oxpecker will take tufts of animal hair to line its nests for the chicks.

Take a look at the great shots from Friday, there’s even one close up of a zebra where you can almost count his eyelashes!  http://www.africam.com/wildlife/streamingcampicsfriday11december2009