Count the Oxpeckers! A great little game to play with parents, caregivers, or preschool teachers.

How many oxpeckers are perched on this giraffe?

Oxpeckers are two species of bird that make up the genus Buphagus and family Buphagidae, endemic to the savanna of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Both the English and scientific names of oxpeckers come from their habit of perching on large mammals (both wild and domesticated) such as cattle, giraffes, zebras, impalas, hippos, and rhinos. The birds eat ticks, small insects, botfly larvae, and other parasites, as well as suck their animal host's blood. The behavior of oxpeckers towards large mammals was previously thought to be an example of mutualism, but recent research suggests the relationship may be parasitic in nature.

Picture: A Bull South African Giraffe & Oxpeckers in the Okavango Delta, Botswana (Wikipedia)

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