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Physical characteristics
Feather color


Eye color



Bright red or yellow beaks
Light-colored chests
Dark tailtips and wingtips

Sociocultural characteristics



Pride Lands





Kifaru: My eyesight's worse than most rhinos!
Ono: That's why rhinos partner with tickbirds. The tickbirds ride on the rhinos and warn them about dangers that the rhinos can't see!
Kifaru and Ono on tickbirds[src]

Tickbirds (also known as oxpeckers) are a species of animal native to the Pride Lands. They frequently partner with rhinoceroses, serving as their visual guides in order to eat ticks off their backs.

Physical characteristics

Tickbirds are small, thin, crescent-shaped birds with elongated beaks and thin legs. Their feathers consist of varying shades of brown, with lighter color along their chests and necks, and darker color on their tails and wings. Their eyes are rimmed with yellow, and are generally colored either black or red. Most tickbirds have yellow beaks with red tips, though Mwenzi is known to have a beak that is entirely red.

Sociocultural characteristics

Tickbirds and rhinos at Tamasha, a seasonal event in which rhinos spar with one another in the mud

Tickbirds are well-known for their partnership with rhinoceroses. While the rhinoceroses allow the tickbirds to eat the ticks off their backs, the tickbirds stand in for the rhinos' poor eyesight and guide them visually. Generally, tickbirds position themselves on the rhinos' backs and warn them of dangers that they cannot see. Other duties may include alleviating itches, fetching food, or keeping rhinos near a source of mud to avoid overheating.

Every wet season, tickbirds guide rhinos to Tamasha, an event near Lake Matope where rhinos will spar with one another in the mud. During the event, the tickbirds remain on the rhinos' backs and ensure that they are facing in the right direction.

Tickbirds are known to eat ticks, though Kifaru claims that they will eat any other bugs that they can find on a rhino's back. Their only known predator is the crocodile.

Notable tickbirds


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