Photos

Details

40 of 65

Kenya

Cape water buffaloes are gregarious herbivors, living in herds of 20 to 40 animals on average. Their eyesight is rather poor but their sense of smell is acute. Both males and females have heavy, ridged horns that grow straight out from the head or curve downward and then up. The horns are formidable weapons against predators and are used when jostling for space within the herd; males use the horns in fights for dominance. The oxpecker is a medium-sized bird that can have a symbiotic relationship with the water buffalo. Large mammals like the water buffalo are prone to ticks, which feed on their blood and can spread diseases and cause anemia. Luckily for the water buffalo, the oxpecker feeds on ticks. By eating the ticks from the hide of the water buffalo, the oxpecker gets a free meal, and the water buffalo gets cleaned of parasites.