The meals on wheels

The Red-billed Oxpecker and the buffalo are completely different yet they have a very beneficial relationship. Buffalo spend much of their time in long grass so they are of course prone to picking up many parasites, one of these being ticks. Ticks are often found in the long grass, waiting for an animal such as a buffalo to walk by, so they can then latch on to the hairs of the animal as it passes. They then make their way to the warmer areas of the buffalo, usually the stomach or the area between the leg and stomach. Here they attach themselves and start to suck the blood of the animal. But the Oxpeckers know this and have adapted their diet to eating these ticks so they are often found on the buffalo – in essence for them it’s “meals on wheels”. The buffalo gets a free parasite removal and the Oxpecker gains a free meal. How nature works!