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…

The Golden-Hooded Tanager

The Golden-Hooded Tanager also called Tangara Larvata is a medium sized passerine bird, is a resident breeder from Southern Mexico South to Western Eucador. The adult bird is about 13cm long and weigh is 19 g. The male bird has a golden head with a black eyemask edged with violet blue above and below, however upperparts is black apart from turquoise shoulders, rump and edgings of the wings and tail. Therefore, the flanks are blue and central belly is white. Hence, female bird is greenish tinge to the head, and black speckling on the crown, and white underparts. The infant bird is much duller, with a green head, dark grey upperparts, off white underparts and little blue in the plumage. 

This species is available in very large numbers, and does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation. So, the Golden-hooded Tanager is listed as a bird of Least Concern by the IUCN. The population estimate around 50,000-499,999 individuals and it is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

 The song of Golden-Hooded Tanager is tuneless rattled series of tick sounds, but its call is sharp tsit. The bird normally lives 1,500 m altitude in the canopy of dense forests and semi open areas like clearings, second growth and well vegetated gardens. The Golden-hooded Tanager is habitually perched on branches or twigs, and often forages for arthropods with aerial sallies.  The beautiful Golden-Hooded tanagers occur in pairs, family groups or as part of a mixed-species feeding flock. The bird likes to eat certain small fruit e.g. of Trophis racemosa (Moraceae) typically swallowed whole, berries and insects are also taken. 

The Golden-Hooded Tanager built nesting usually in a tree fork or in a bunch of green bananas. The clutch contains 2 brown-blotched white eggs. The nest, usually constructed by both parents, built with fine plant fibers, dead leaves, and cobwebs. The both sexes take 4 to 6 weeks in building nest, around 1.5-15 above the ground. The female bird incubates for 13 to 15 days, and male birds takes care while incubates the eggs. The young juvenile stay in the nest for 14 to 16 days before fledging. Habitually two broods are raised in a season, but three have been documented. This bird is often double-brooded, and the young birds first clutch assist with feeding the second brood of chicks. 

Golden-hooded Tanagers have been observed chasing one another for 15 to 30 min, though repeatedly reiterating ticking noises. Abruptly, the birds fly off in pairs in two different directions. The Golden-Hooded Tanager is recognized with different names in different languages, like in French: Calliste à coiffe d’or German: Purpurmaskentangare Spanish: Tangara Cabecidorada
Other common names: Golden-headed/Golden-masked Tanager, Hooded Tanager. 

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