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Wildlife at the watering hole

Birds and bovine form an unlikely friendship.

April 30, 2015 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Cattle egret sitting on top of water buffaloCattle egret sitting on top of water buffaloPhoto: MVPhoto / Shutterstock
April 30, 2015 | Latest Photo

In the Israeli wilderness, water buffalo mingle by a version of the office water cooler. And, like many water cooler patrons, these buffalo are subject to distraction, like finding a few white herons sitting on their backs.

Bothering half a ton of sharp-horned bovine may seem like a bad move for a pretty little bird that barely weighs a pound, but these herons, called "cattle egret," have no natural predators. In fact, they have a special relationship with bovines. The cattle egrets ride on their backs and pick at ticks. This relationship has allowed them to thrive over the last century — truly an alliance for the ages.

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Related Topics: Animals