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Oki Oxpecker

‘Jambo’ everyone! My name is Oki and I am an oxpecker. I guided my friend Zeb around Kenya! We visited lots of different areas. These included the Maasai Mara, where we went up in a hot air balloon!

To learn a bit more about me and other oxpeckers, please take a look at the Five Fun Facts below. I’ve also made a puzzle for you! And there’s a lovely colouring sheet of Zeb and me taking a ‘selfari’ – a selfie on safari! – as we drift over the wildebeest migration of the Maasai Mara.

Five Fun Facts about Oki and oxpeckers

  • Oki is a yellow-billed oxpecker. There are two types of oxpecker, yellow billed and red billed – and the yellow-billed oxpecker has red on its beak as well as yellow!
  • Oxpeckers eat ticks! They search for ticks on the coats of zebras, wildebeests, and a type of antelope called an impala. They often eat ticks off cattle too!
  • The birds also provide a sort of cleaning service for their hosts, snacking on their dandruff, earwax, and even dried-up poo!
  • Sometimes, oxpeckers get a bit too keen to help out. If a host has an open wound, an oxpecker might prevent it from healing by feeding on the fresh blood! However, scientists think that on the whole they are useful birds.
  • Oxpeckers also meet and mate with each other on top of their hosts! When it’s time to build a nest, the birds pluck hair from the hosts to make a snug lining for the eggs they lay. Zeb has promised Oki she can have some of his hair, when the time comes for her to raise a little family!

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