The Mystery Bird “Yellow-Billed Oxpecker”

The yellow-billed oxpecker “Buphagus africanus” is a beautiful passerine bird in the starling and myna family, Sturnidae. The name “oxpecker” is related to their habit of perching on large wild and domestic mammals. The yellow-billed oxpecker is 20 cm long and has plain brown upperparts and head, buff underparts and a pale rump. In a day an adult bird will take more than 100 engorged female Boophilus decoloratus ticks or 13,000 larvae. It frequently occurs in association with wild and domestic large mammals. The species often roosts in trees close to these animals, or even on buffaloes’ back at night. The Yellow-billed oxpeckers live in small flocks and can be found at sea-level or in mountains as high as 9,800 feet. These African mystery birds are engaged in a rare behavior, even nesting on the back of a live Cape buffalo.
Some ornithologists regard the oxpeckers to be a separate family, the Buphagidae. It is least common in the extreme east of its range where it overlaps with the r…

Birds-of-Paradise Project Introduction

The Birds-of-Paradise Project reveals the astounding beauty of 39 of the most exquisitely specialized animals on earth. After 8 years and 18 expeditions to New Guinea, Australia, and nearby islands, Cornell Lab scientist Ed Scholes and National Geographic photojournalist Tim Laman succeeded in capturing images of all 39 species in the bird-of-paradise family for the first time ever. This trailer gives a sense of their monumental undertaking and the spectacular footage that resulted. Filmed by Tim Laman, Ed Scholes, and Eric Liner.

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