We are used to seeing Cattle Egrets darting about in the company of cattle, zebras and buffalo so it is always interesting to see other birds making a meal of the ticks that attach themselves to animals as they walk through the grass. The first of these is a pair of sheep hosting a Fork-tailed Drongo and a Red-billed Oxpecker respectively:

I am always excited to spot an oxpecker around these parts.

Redwinged Starlings are common garden visitors and a large flock of them gather daily in the Natal fig. It was a strange sight, however, to turn a corner in town to find these ones astride a cow while they feasted on ticks:

The sun had already set, so the light is not good yet you can see the russet in the outstretched wings of the bird on the right.

There appeared to be a conflict of views being played out while the cow munched away placidly.


27 thoughts on “MOBILE MEALS

  1. I always think that it would feel ticklish on the backs of the cows when those birds are atop of them. Specially when they are walking about picking ticks. Great photos.


  2. Wow – that is interesting. We need some of these birds enjoying a tick meal since we have a tick infestation here in Michigan this year … we usually have some tick issues, but because it was a fairly mild Winter, we have more than usual and are also expecting our Brood X Cicadas after 17 years as well.


      • I didn’t think I’d seen a cattle egret Anne, but I Googled to be sure we didn’t have them in Michigan and it looks like Florida is the closest state to us. I follow the local Audubon Society on Facebook to see where they go on their birding adventures. Yesterday they strayed to a place about 90 minutes from here and saw many Brood X cicadas For some reason the 17-year cicadas always go to this particular area, so the group got videos of them – the buzzing noise is intense. Right now, near the shoreline and fairly close to where I live, people who boat or walk find themselves surrounded by Mayflies a/k/a Fish Flies. They emerge as nymphs and live for about 24 hours, then die. There are many of them, and when they are squished by car tires causing “greasy” streets and even vehicle accidents.


      • Interesting about your locusts Anne – during the brief Mayfly season, they show pictures sometimes on social media of these bugs clinging to buildings and you cannot see the building for Mayflies.


      • I did see some down at the River today and got some pictures of them clinging to the walls. Not as many as I’ve seen before. It will be awhile until I put them in a post as I’m quite behind in looking at my pictures. When I was in college I worked at a diner the entire time I was in school. I worked weekends, school breaks and all Summer. The diner was painted white with black awnings and opened 24 hours. When the fishflies were out, they’d all fly to the white building and the outside lights and I’d arrive at work at 6:45 and find hundreds of fishflies on the building. My boss would say “hurry up and close the door – keep those fishflies outside!” They are harmless but creepy.

        Liked by 1 person

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