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30 October 2023 Oxpecker Host-Selection in the Salambala Conservancy, Northeastern Namibia
Michael S. Lukubwe, Adrian J.F.K. Craig, Tawanda Manyangadze
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By studying the host-selection patterns of oxpecker species, researchers can gain valuable insights into their ecological roles and interactions with different host species. This information is crucial for developing effective conservation strategies that prioritise the protection of oxpeckers and their host populations. The study conducted field observations and recorded data on the number of oxpeckers and their respective host species. Additionally, this study investigated the relationship between host species and host parameters (body mass and hair length) in the Salambala conservancy in northeastern Namibia. Selection and density indices were used to calculate the number of host animals supporting one oxpecker as well as the oxpecker density on a host's body surface. Pentad-based counts of oxpeckers and ungulates were conducted. Of the observed oxpeckers, 75% were Red-billed and 25% Yellow-billed Oxpeckers. These findings suggest that Red-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) are more commonly found on host species than Yellow-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus). The selection index indicates that Red-billed Oxpeckers have a higher preference for impala (Aepyceros melampus) compared to cattle (Bos taurus), while Yellow-billed Oxpeckers show a lower preference for goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) compared to cattle. The selection indices for impala and cattle for both oxpecker species were highest during the wet season. In terms of correlation analysis, there were no significant correlations between selection and density indices and host hair length or species-typical body mass.

Michael S. Lukubwe, Adrian J.F.K. Craig, and Tawanda Manyangadze "Oxpecker Host-Selection in the Salambala Conservancy, Northeastern Namibia," African Journal of Wildlife Research 53(1), (30 October 2023).
Received: 6 February 2023; Accepted: 10 October 2023; Published: 30 October 2023
density index
host species
Salambala conservancy
selection index
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