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Distribution and density of oxpeckers on giraffes in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Oxpeckers (Buphagus sp.) are two bird species closely associated to large mammals, including giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). We tested whether oxpeckers distributed themselves at random across individuals or aggregated on individual giraffes, and whether birds select the host’s body parts with the expected greatest amount of ticks. By counting oxpeckers on giraffe’s body from photographs, we quantified the distribution of birds per hosts and over predefined zones on the giraffe body. Oxpeckers displayed a strong aggregation behaviour with few hosts carrying

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