Symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

Oxpecker - Wikipedia

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

The oxpeckers are two species of birds -- the red-billed oxpecker and the yellow- billed The oxpeckers perform a symbiotic relationship with the large, hoofed. Hippos have symbiotic relationships with several species — meaning both animals in the This can often be seen with oxpecker birds. In this relationship, the Oxpecker gets food and protection from the hippopotamus . It gets is food by making small cuts in the hippo and eating.

In addition to the meals he receives every day, the oxpecker also is protected from many predators while on the relative safety of the host.

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

Oxpeckers consume dandruff and scar tissue, and have been known to open up wounds on their host to eat the blood and scabs, potentially slowing the healing process. Mutualism There are various types of symbiotic relationships.

Rhinos & the Oxpecker Bird | Animals -

Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship that benefits both organisms. In the case of the relationship between the oxpecker and his bison-like hosts, the oxpecker benefits from having a steady supply of food, while the host benefits from having parasites cleaned from her body.

Some scientists debate if the relationship truly is mutual however, as the host does not benefit in the same way, if at all, as the oxpecker.

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

Animals, such as the elephant and topi, actively brush away oxpeckers, signalling that there may be little benefit to their relationship. Surprisingly, the PI results in the present study differed from Grobler and Stutterheim and Stutterheim Optimal foraging strategy Pyke will predict that animals will concentrate on the most abundant and profitable food source.

For example, there were fewer White Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus in KNP in the s compared to the present-day population It is therefore reasonable to conclude that as White Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus numbers increased, Red-billed Oxpeckers responded by selecting for these new abundant host species with potentially higher tick loads and less hair to hide the ticks. Giraffe remained the most preferred host species in both the northern and southern regions of the park.

Rhinos & the Oxpecker Bird

This could also be a detection bias, given that it is possibly easier for flying birds to detect Giraffe compared to other shorter species. This is further supported by Oxpeckers' preference for White Rhinoceros and Hippopotamus both large ungulatesrecorded as host species in Skukuza.

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

Interestingly, Impala, an abundant, small-sized ungulate, was less preferred as a host species across studies.

This surprising contradicts what has been reported by GroblerStutterheim and Stutterheim and Hart et al.

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

Both Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers displayed a preference for the back and head regions of their respective host species. Red-billed Oxpeckers also preferred the necks of Giraffe.

Additionally, Oxpeckers prefer feeding on the back regions of a host species since this is easily accessible and provides a stable perch Weeks The head is also preferred since it provides additional food resources other than ticks, i. Exceedingly low occurrences of wound feeding by Red-billed Oxpeckers and the absence of wound feeding in Yellow-billed Oxpeckers suggests that this feeding behaviour is not prevalent in KNP as previously reported in cattle ranches in Zimbabwe Weeks Plantanin her study on both Oxpecker species at Shingwedzi inalso found the prevalence of wound feeding behaviour to be very low 3.

However, she did find that wound feeding was exhibited by Yellow-billed Oxpeckers more than Red-billed Oxpeckers.

Mutualism of the Month: Hippopotamus and their fish partners — Feed the data monster

Mzima Springs has several resident populations of hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles, both of which are isolated from other water sources. The hippopotamus sustain an aquatic food chain by grazing on the nearby savannah during the night and returning to the springs during the day.

symbiotic relationship between oxpecker bird and hippopotamus

By defecating in the springs they bring essential nutrients utilized by freshwater algae as well as fruiting trees and shrubs. The fruit produced by these trees sustains monkey and bird populations while the algae forms the foundation of an aquatic food web.

It isn't just a poop-based economy. Several species of fish consume algae and parasites off the bodies of these hippos. During the day, the hippos of Mzima Springs get a true spa treatment. Groups of fish, at least four different species, attend these spas, specializing on cleaning particular parts of the hippopotamus.