Food choice, time budget and associated conflict between Yellow-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus L.) and Domestic Cattle Managers in Ibadan, Oyo state Nigeria

Adeyanju, A.T and Adejumo, D.O.

Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, Ornithology and Wildlife Conservation, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Corresponding author:

Accepted on April, 14, 2020.



The resultant conflict between the oxpeckers and cattle farmers/managers was explored. Food choice of yellow-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus) in association with domestic cattle was assessed to determine the most utilized feed matter. The study was split into two: Firstly, oral interviews with 30 domestic cattle managers focused on human wildlife conflict between yellow-billed oxpeckers and domestic cattle managers. Six farms were identified through referrals and livestock managers were selected based on convenience. Secondly, we observed oxpecker behaviour within population of oxpeckers using University of Ibadan cattle farm as the observation station. Repeated observations were carried out to determine the preferred food choice of the yellow-billed oxpeckers as well as time budget during each recorded activity. A total of 180 observations were made with 1179 oxpecker-cattle interactions documented in the morning (08:00–10:00) and in the evening (16:00–18:00), within 30 days in dry season. Interactions were further grouped into feeding and non-feeding interactions. Feeding interactions was further split into wound and non-wound feeding. Interview responses showed a significant level of conflict with 86.36% of domestic cattle managers surveyed indicating that they had tried to eliminate oxpeckers before because of wound causing/feeding behaviour. Wound feeding was the least occurring feeding interaction which only occurred 6% of the time. Non-wound feeding interactions (ticks, skin flakes, mucous, earwax) had 94% ratio of occurrence showing that oxpeckers are simply opportunistic feeders that utilize wounds to increase their foraging efficiency. Oxpeckers selected ticks and skin flakes more frequently than mucous, blood and earwax, perching was the most obvious nonfeeding activity, headshake was the most common avoidance technique to wade off oxpeckers who preferred the hump and rump among other locations on domestic cattle. Sensitization of managers on the benefits of oxpeckers is necessary to reduce negativistic attitude towards the species.


Keywords: Food Choice, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Feeding, Domestic Cattle, Behaviour, Conflict, Wound Feeding.


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