Red-billed Oxpeckers and Cape Buffalo. usually live in a symbiotic relationship. The Buffalo provide the ticks filled with blood and the Oxpeckers rid the Buffalo of the annoying parasites.
But sometimes the small birds turn themselves into ‘vampires’. If the Buffalo (or any other large herbivore) has any bleeding injury (eg from a large thorn or from an abandoned predator attack) then the Oxpeckers often continue to peck at the open wound for a continuous blood stream.
They love feasting on the fresh blood without ‘tick packaging’ ! When eating ticks their target is actually the blood which the ticks had extracted from their host animal.
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📷 Picture by Christian Sperka
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