09 December 2012

Ticks on the hoof

With the onset of summer and after the good rains the ticks at Addo started to flourish and it did not take long for the game to be invested with these parasites. But one animal's misery is another's opportunity. 

This warthog stood around contentedly for ages, while the Cape Glossy Starlings picked away at the ticks that covered his body. They provided a feast for these enterprising birds.


Firefly said...

Great shot. One always see pictures of oxpecker birds on animals but rarely something like this.

Judy said...

That starling is the most beautiful colour!! Do they get the heads of the ticks, or just the bodies?

Max-e said...

Not too sure Judy. I suppose it depends on how deeply the ticks are embedded. In all likelihood it is probably only the body as they do their work while flying, unlike ox-peckers that attach themselves to the body of the host and do a more thorough job. Warthogs along with some other species often take mud baths and literally smother the parasites