The Onion reports:
“Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Feed off the embedded ticks on his hide, chirp when the predators come. Where’s the passion, the heat?” the tickbird continued.
Amusing article aside, it is true that rhinos and tickbirds may not get along as well as you think.
The diet of tickbirds, also known as oxpeckers (family Buphagidae), consists of parasites such as ticks. These parasites are in abundance in the hides of large mammals. Thus tickbirds are often found on the backs of these large mammals, pecking away.
On the surface, both animals benefit from this relationship. The oxpecker enjoys a guaranteed source of food, while the host mammal is rid of parasites. According to Wikipedia, this is a symbiotic relationship! We trust Wikipedia, right?
However, it is not clear if the oxpeckers even reduce tick loads. More after the jump.