Red-billed oxpecker

Buphagus erythrorhynchus

The red-billed oxpecker is a passerine bird native to savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa.

Red-billed oxpecker behavior and facts

  • Red-billed oxpeckers belong to the Sturnidae family, which includes starlings and mynas.
  • They specialize in plucking ticks, flies and scar tissue from 25 species of large African mammals, such as rhinos and impala.
  • The relationship between oxpeckers and their ungulate hosts is more parasitic than mutualistic. Oxpeckers slow the healing process of sores and will peck at wounds to increase the flow of blood, on which they feed.

From birth to death

  • Red-billed oxpeckers nest in tree holes lined with hair plucked from their host mammals
  • Clutch: 2-5 eggs


IUCN least concern

Red-billed oxpeckers, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's red-billed oxpeckers live in the Howard Vollum Aviary exhibit.