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oxpecker

[oks-pek-er] /ˈɒksˌpɛk ər/
noun
1.
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
1840-1850
1840-50; ox + pecker
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for oxpecker
  • Even some birds, such as the oxpecker and vampire finch, feed on blood.
British Dictionary definitions for oxpecker

oxpecker

/ˈɒksˌpɛkə/
noun
1.
either of two African starlings, Buphagus africanus or B. erythrorhynchus, having flattened bills with which they obtain food from the hides of cattle Also called tick-bird
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for 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

Learn more about oxpecker with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for oxpecker

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for oxpecker

23
25
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