oxpecker

[oks-pek-er]
noun
either of two African starlings of the genus Buphagus, characterized by their habit of riding on large, wild animals and domestic cattle to feed on ticks.

Origin:
1840–50; ox + pecker

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World English Dictionary
oxpecker (ˈɒksˌpɛkə)
 
n
Also called: tick-bird either of two African starlings, Buphagus africanus or B. erythrorhynchus, having flattened bills with which they obtain food from the hides of cattle

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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oxpecker

either of the two species of the African genus Buphagus, of the family Sturnidae (order Passeriformes). Both species-the yellow-billed (B. africanus) and the red-billed (B. erythrorhynchus)-are brown birds 20 cm (8 inches) long, with wide bills, stiff tails, and sharp claws. They cling to cattle and big-game animals to remove ticks, flies, and maggots from their hides; when alarmed, the birds hiss, alerting their hosts to possible danger. Though they rid animals of pests, oxpeckers also take blood from the sores, which may be slow to heal

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Even some birds, such as the oxpecker and vampire finch, feed on blood.
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