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Black rhinos eavesdrop on the alarm calls of hitchhiking oxpeckers to avoid humans


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In Swahili, red-billed oxpeckers are called Askari wa kifaru, or "the rhino's guard." Now, a paper appearing April 9 in the journal Current Biology suggests that this indigenous name rings true: red-billed oxpeckers may act as a first line of defense against poachers by behaving like sentinels, sounding an alarm to potential danger. By tracking wild black rhinos, researchers found that those carrying oxpeckers were far better at sensing and avoiding humans than those without the hitchhiking bird.

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