For most of the morning a group of female giraffes has followed closely behind us. Whenever we stop, they stop, too, and the spotted derricks of their necks swivel in all directions to get a better look at us. At the end of each neck, a head is cocked sideways: the universal body language that says, “Huh?”
As the giraffes become more relaxed in our presence, they feed more closely and don’t look up at us quite as often.
I stop and take a photograph, of a graceful giraffe with an oxpecker on her neck, as she bends down to browse.
Red-billed oxpeckers use their bills to comb through the fur of large mammals both wild and domestic for ticks and bloodsucking flies, clinging to their hosts with sharp claws. They also feed on earwax and dandruff, and have been observed opening small wounds, as well as enhancing existing wounds, in order to feed on blood. Oxpecker courtship and copulation occurs on their hosts while they ride along, and they cushion their nests with hair from their host.
Living together in the animal kingdom.