Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a type of heron, rather than a true egret in the genus Egretta. It is native to Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is related to ibis. The term bubulcus means herdsmen (cattle men).

It is a white bird with orange-buff feathers and red legs and beak when it is breeding. When it is not breeding it is white with a yellow beak and grey legs. It is stocky with a short neck, so that it looks hunched. It has a height of 46-56 centimetres (18-22 inches) and a wingspan of 88-96 centimetres (35-38 inches).

It likes to be near cattle and other large mammals, such as buffalo, to catch insects that live near the cattle. The cattle egret removes ticks and fleas from cattle.

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Oxpeckers and their symbiotic relationships

Oxpeckers have a symbiotic relationship with oxen, antelopes, zebras, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, and many ungulates (hoofed-animals) in Africa.

Oxpeckers are birds that feed on ticks that live on the body of animals. Sometimes they are called tickbirds. The ticks live near the animal’s ears, neck, eyelids, forehead and underbelly. Oxpeckers also feed on the earwax and dandruff of animals.

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