The yellow-billed oxpecker is one of only two species of the Buphagidae family. The name refers to the bird’s habit of perching on large wild and domestic mammals, from which they remove ticks. They are also known to help clean open wounds by feeding on the rotting tissue. The birds do not generally fly long distances but are often carried by buffaloes and other animals that travel up to eight kilometres (five miles) per day.
The yellow-billed oxpecker is far less common than its red-billed counterpart and, at one point, it became almost extinct in South Africa. Oxpeckers are monogamous until the mate dies. Nests are built in natural tree holes or cavities and lined with fur, plucked from the animals on which they feed.