Kenya Birds

Red-billed Oxpecker


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Red-billed Oxpecker

Photograph(s) Copyright ©P&H HARRIS

Buphagus erythrorhynchus

Other Names

    French Piqueboeuf à bec rouge   German Rotschnabel-Madenhacker     Swedish Rödnäbbad oxhackare   Dutch Roodsnavelossepikker   Italian Bufaga dal becco rosso

World: Africa from eastern South Africa, North through Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia to East Africa, Sudan Ethiopia and Somalia.

Kenya: Common everywhere except the coast.

Similar to the Yellow-billed Oxpecker but has an all red beak and, more obvious from distance, a broad yellow ring around the eye. It's less choosy about the mammals it perches and forages on than the Yellow-billed Oxpecker and much more common; the red-billed Oxpecker can be found just about anywhere in Kenya, but reserves with large numbers of grazing animals are the best bet. As well as feeding on the ticks it also takes small bits of flesh and blood enlarging small cuts to do so. For many years it was thought that Oxpeckers actually helped the animals they feed from by reducing the numbers of ticks but some biologists now think that may not be the case.

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