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…

Greater Blue Eared Starling, The Gorgeous Mystery Bird

The greater blue-eared starling or “greater blue-eared glossy-starling” (Lamprotornis chalybaeus) are so spectacular to look at that the birder totally forgets about all identification clues as soon as he or she gets her bino’s onto the bird. The bird adopts seasonal migration and common species of open woodland bird.  When you see this bird, first you’ll look at his eyes, a vivid and psycho looking orange eye captivate your notions for a while. 

The bird is 22-cm long short tailed bird, and glossy blue-green bird with a purple-blue belly and blue ear patch its iris is bright yellow or orange. Both male and female are same however; juvenile is duller and has blackish brown underparts. Sometimes the bird is considered to be a separate subspecies, L. c. sycobius.  Therefore, the lesser blue-eared starling is alike to this species, nonetheless the blue of the belly does not extend forward of the legs. The starling blue eared bird has a musical or grating calls, however, the most familiar is a nasal squee-ar. Both male and female built the nests comprising of a simple pad of dry grass and feathers placed in a tree cavity, either natural or an old woodpecker or barbet hole.

The birds naturally have nests in holes in trees, either natural or excavated by woodpeckers or barbets. The nest normally have 3 to 5 eggs, mostly greenish blue with brown or purple spots and hatch in 13 to 14 days. The chicks leave the nest normally in 23 days after hatching. This attractive bird is parasitised by the great spotted cuckoo and occasionally by the greater honeyguide. Though the global population size has not been measured, but the species is reported to be common to abundant. 

Moreover, this greater blue-eared starling is highly outgoing and will form big flocks, often with other starlings. However, its roosts, in reedbed, thorn bushes, or acacia, may also be shared. The greater blue eared starling is an omnivore, taking invertebrates seeds and berries, particularly figs, but is diet is mainly insects taken from the ground. Furthermore, it will perch on livestock, feeding on insects disturbed by the animals and sporadically removing ectoparasites. The birds are native to the following countries, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegambia (Senegal and Gambia), Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling resembles the related Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling. 

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