Serengeti, Tanzania One of my favourite birds, the oxpecker on the largest antelope in africa, the Eland. The oxpecker feeds exclusively on ticks, flies and other insects that reside on other animals. While this is somewhat of a favourable relationship, their feeding can be intrusive and irritating for the host. Furthermore it has been observed that the oxpecker will re-open old wounds and create new ones to feed on the blood. For this reason other animals will not tolerate them, I have seen elephants swat them away with little tolerance to their presence.
Photographic Details: I love the dynamic between the two subjects. This photo does illustrate the current mutual relationship these two animals have including the flies buzzing around, albeit without expressing the dark side this bird may have. I took many photos but I was looking for one with the eyes and face of both animals in focus, with the soft mottled textures of the trees in the background. The shade of the trees provided a soft light in the otherwise harsh midday sun.
If you like this please check out my African Photo Safaris coming up in 2012!