Brazilian cleaner birds: update and brief reappraisal


  • Ivan Sazima Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Museu de Zoologia
  • Cristina Sazima Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Departamento de Biologia Animal


cleaning symbiosis, Ardeidae, Falconidae, Jacanidae, Tyrannidae, Icteridae


Some bird species feed on external parasites, such as ticks and flies, on the body of mammals (hosts or clients). So called cleaner birds that occur in Brazil were reviewed recently, but gathering of significant new data indicates the need for an update and a brief reappraisal of such association. New records raise the number of known clients for some cleaning birds. The Southern Caracara (Caracara plancus) picks ticks on cattle, and the Black Caracara (Daptrius ater) picks ticks on capybaras. The Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) picks ticks, horseflies, arthropods and organic debris on capybaras, and tick-picking on capybaras by the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) is substantiated by photographs. The Cattle Tyrant (Machetornis rixosa) deftly catches horseflies on capybaras, and these latter clients are recorded posing for the Giant Cowbird (Molothrus oryzivorus), which also pick parasites from the marsh deer. The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) definitely picks ticks directly on cattle. With the new records, some poorly documented or controversial issues in the literature are here confirmed, a hypothesis is validated, and a suggestion is invalidated.




How to Cite

Sazima, I., & Sazima, C. (2010). Brazilian cleaner birds: update and brief reappraisal. Biota Neotropica, 10(1). Retrieved from //



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