Palewinged Starling gleaning on desert-dwelling Giraffe, northwestern Namibia

The Yellowbilled Oxpecker Bupgagus africanus, Redbilled Oxpecker B. erythrorhynchus, Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis and Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis have all been observed in direct feeding association with Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis. While the first two are highly adapted obligate ectoparasite gleaners, the latter two species are facultative ectooarasite gleaners that otherwise actively prey upon insects incidentally flushed by mammals.

The allopatric Palewinged Starling Onychognathus nabourup has been observed to have an affinity with Klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus, similar to that of the Redwinged Starling O. morio in the southern part of its distribution range. Starling/Klipspringer feeding relationships are a commonly observed bird/mammal feeding association. The feeding strategy of such ectoparasite gleaners is almost entirely restricted to open habitats and areas of increased biomass of large mammals. Therefore areas such as Namibia offer increased potential for the development of bird/mammal feeding associations.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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