Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Oxpecker and the African Cape Buffalo

These two African creatures have an interesting symbiotic relationship. The small Oxpecker bird is often found on the backs of the 2,000 lb buffalo. The bird gets it's main supply of food by picking off bugs, ticks and maggots out of the buffalo's fur, leaving free of most pests. The oxpecker bird also will eat bugs out wounds, possibly preventing some infection the buffalo could possible endure. In addition to bugs being removed, the oxpecker also will warn the buffalo of predators by hissing or making noise if it spots a lion etc. Oxpecker's nests are usually lined with fur that they pull from the buffalo (ouch!). The relationship between the two is a mutualist symbiotic relationship, as both species benefit from it.

1 comment:

  1. i've seen this relationship sited again and again - but no one has been so clear about how they mutually benefit from one another. How do you think they got to this state? What is the point where one species is fine with another just sharing the same space - as tolerance? Do you feel this is active symbiosis or more - "we're cool" interaction?