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…

European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

The European Goldfinch is a small passerine bird in the finch family that is native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia and has been introduced to other areas including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay. This beautiful small bird is found in open, partially wooded lowlands and is a resident in the milder west of its range, but migrates from colder regions. The goldfinch will also make local movements, even in the west, to escape bad weather. The bird is breeds in mixed woodland, orchards, parks, commons, gardens and pine plantations where there are thistles and other plants that produce seeds. The goldfinch size is about 12 to 13 cm long with a wingspan is 21 to 25 cm and a weight of 14 to 19 gram.

The both sexes are broadly akin, however the goldfinch has a red face and a black-and-white head and back and flanks are buff or chestnut brown. Moreover the black wings have a broad yellow bar. The tail is black and the rump is white. Therefore, the female bird is very alike to the male but has a slightly smaller red area on the face. Goldfinches will display to each other during spring by singing and swaying their wings from side to side. The song is an enjoyable silvery twittering, however the call is a melodious tickeLLIT, and the song is a pleasant tinkling medley of trills and twitters, but always including the trisyllabic call phrase or a teLLLIT-teLLIT-teLLLIT. The Male goldfinches are the only birds that can extract seeds from teasel heads by clinging to the stem and probing with their long, pointed bill. Thus, females have shorter beaks and so they are unable to exploit teasel heads.

In the autumn, when seed heads are common, goldfinches have a broad diet, feeding on groundsels, ragworts and dandelions as well as the favorite teasels and knapweeds. Therefore, outside of the breeding season, goldfinches travel in flocks in search of food during the day. The goldfinch is habitually depicted in Italian renaissance paintings of the Madonna and Child. Antonio Vivaldi composed a Concerto in D major for Flute "Il Gardellino" where the singing of the goldfinch is imitated by a flute. The goldfish is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and included in the Birds of Conservation Concern Amber List (medium conservation concern).

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