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Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:46 pm

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Large view, RBO on buffalo near Satara

Did you know that the red-billed oxpecker is one of very few birds that can change the colour of its iris! It is not well-understood how this happens, but ornithologists think it is stress related. The iris is drained of vermillion, in extreme cases changes to pale yellow.

Although yellow irises were previously documented, ringers were the first to observe the colour change. However, I am not 100 percent convinced that this is the right explanation because I have infrequently seen yellow-eyed individuals in their natural environment (got no pix tho’). There must be a more plausible reason than just ascribing it to stress. To further substantiate my thoughts on this – the reverse happens in black-bellied starlings (their eyes are normally yellow, but changes to red – also a ringer’s observation).

I have shots of this phenomenon though. :lol: My red-eyed individual was in no way stressed that I could detect. The bird featured at my birdbath in St Lucia and remained there for an extended period… very relaxed… and red-eyed!

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Large view, yellow-eyed

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Large view, red-eyed
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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:19 pm

Barcud, I need to prowl the bird threads more often. I think that this is the funniest posts that I have seen lately.

:funny:

Johan, Wolhuter speaks of the poisoning and disappearance of the Oxpecker in his book. I wonder what he would think now?

I will read this post again once the effects of peri peri prawns and Graca have disappeared :wink:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:10 am

Hi, Mouse!

Meandering a little easier this morning? Hope the Graca didn't leave you with a headache... :twisted:

Glad to have provided some entertainment... albeit Graca-assisted :wink: (@ Bracud... I kinda accept that you will allow part of the mouse's "funny" compliment to be valid for my two subsequent posts... Probably not funny-hahaha like yours... but rather intriguingly funny)

Wolhulter wouldn't change his account of the poisoning and subsequent disappearance of RBOs from SA... that is a historical fact. What may change is the rationale behind the call for the return of RBOs to their previous ranges... Protagonists for reintroduction should focus their motivation on the continued survival of the RBO as a specie... and maybe punt the positives for wildlife (which I believe MUST be present, albeit still undisclosed, it seems). The incentive of RBOs being the farmer's ally against ticks and tick-borne diseases no longer carries the same weight as it did before Weeks' observations that suggested the reintroducing RBOs on cattle farms comes with a cost to the fitness of the cattle. New and innovative farming practices is required of livestock farmers who are environmentally aware... It shouldn't be too difficult... Boer maak 'n plan (Farmer makes a plan)
715 Latest lifers: Whyte's barbet, Streaky-breasted flufftail, Southern hyliota, Spotted creeper, Miombo double-collared sunbird, African golden oriole, Boulder chat, Miombo rock-thrush, Red-faced crombec, Auger buzzard, Eurasian curlew

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:20 am

Fortunately not too much Graca, Johan :wink:

I was reading, I cannot remember where, about the appaling fatality rate on some game farms, of animals lost due to ticks and parasite loads. I suppose, what would be essential in this case, is better grazing and parasite management, rather than introducing Ox Peckers.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:59 am

Meandering Mouse wrote:Fortunately not too much Graca, Johan :wink:

I was reading, I cannot remember where, about the appaling fatality rate on some game farms, of animals lost due to ticks and parasite loads. I suppose, what would be essential in this case, is better grazing and parasite management, rather than introducing Ox Peckers.


I guess wisdom extends to wine-drinking too...

Grazing and parasite management is not on the agenda of true nature reserves, MM. Parasites are part of the reserve's inhabitants and as such left to be sorted out by the toughest manager on the reserve - Mother Nature herself...

I support the reintroduction of RBOs to places where they disappeared from due to unsound dipping practices... Ms Nature knows what to do. It is the farmer next door who faces new challenges... If he is made aware of the challenge posed and kitted with the correct farming strategy/methods to benifit both his domisticated animals AND the RBOs, it becomes a win-win... not so?
715 Latest lifers: Whyte's barbet, Streaky-breasted flufftail, Southern hyliota, Spotted creeper, Miombo double-collared sunbird, African golden oriole, Boulder chat, Miombo rock-thrush, Red-faced crombec, Auger buzzard, Eurasian curlew

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:01 pm

Pics taken in Letaba camp, Sept 2010:

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Sawubona
Dalene


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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Nico » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:08 pm

I filmed a Red Billed Oxpecker hanging on the nose of an Impala. The Impala had a little wound above his nose and the Oxpecker was digging it out probably for blood. This can lead to a major infection and the death of the Impala. :?


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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Leeukos » Sat May 19, 2012 8:53 am

A Red-billed Oxpecker sitting on an Impala in the Kruger National Park.

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"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Leeukos » Sat May 19, 2012 8:54 am

A Red-billed Oxpecker sitting on an Impala in the Kruger National Park.

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"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Jan van Wyk » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:18 pm

Posing for the camera

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Jan van Wyk
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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Jan van Wyk » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:07 pm

Busy cleaning

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Ifubesi » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:10 am

I thought all you bird lovers would like to hear my good news. I saw a few Red-Billed Oxpeckers this weekend at Leeupoort Holiday Village between Bela-Bela and Thabazimbi at what seemed to be their nesting site in a dead tree! Looks like all the game farms springing up over the bushveld is really having a positive impact on birds such as these. A few decades ago this would have been a very rare sighting outside of Kruger.
On the down side I also saw some Indian Mynas there :( .
13 Dec 2012 Pretoriuskop
14-15 Dec 2012 Lower Sabie
16 Dec 2012 Tamboti
17-18 Dec 2012 Satara
19-22 Dec 2012 Shingwedzi
23 Dec 2012 Punda Maria

Jan van Wyk
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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Jan van Wyk » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:44 pm

That is great news, they are doing such a great job controlling pest and hope the farmers will work together to ensure they are wide spread again.

Few close ups taken in KNP

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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Leeukos » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:00 pm

Image
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

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Leeukos
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Re: Oxpeckers, Red Billed

Unread post by Leeukos » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:00 pm

Image
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


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