Those who have ever paid us a visit will know just how passionate we are about conservation as a whole. It’s why we’re firmly focused on doing what we can to protect the vulnerable species in the wild so that we may preserve them for future generations to respect and enjoy as well. 

Sometimes, Mother Nature lends us a hand in a form of another species that plays a role in conservation in its own way. Take the oxpecker, for example. Although they’re birds that are widely known for riding on the backs of large mammals and feeding on the ticks and parasites that would otherwise plague their hoofed companions, they’ve taken up a rightful place in rhino conservation. 

Through ongoing research and various studies, scientists have discovered that the relationship between red-billed oxpeckers and rhinos may be more complex and far more beneficial than we ever knew. Not only do oxpeckers help in the removal of unwanted parasites, but new data shows that they may also play a role in keeping rhinos safe from poachers. 

But how? It all comes down to the senses. Rhinos may have a good sense of smell and relatively effective hearing but they’re known for having particularly bad eyesight. This is where the red-billed oxpecker comes in. With good vision and a tendency to make hissing alarm calls when a predator or human approaches, scientists tracking wild black rhinos found that those carrying oxpeckers were far better at avoiding humans than those without the birds. In fact, the more oxpeckers the rhino carried, the greater the distance at which a human was detected. It is still unknown whether this is simply just communication between the birds or actually an alarm call specifically directed at the rhinos. Regardless, we consider this a positive relationship nonetheless and a definite win in the fight against rhino poaching. 

Witness this incredible relationship first-hand when you book your next escape at Nambiti Hills. To get a head start on planning your stay, get hold of our Reservations team on +27 (0)31 333 6723 or email To see what our current special offers are, click here: