daniel blumstein

Daniel Blumstein in National Geographic: Bird alarm calls help rhinos avoid people—and possibly poachers

A Victoria University researcher found that red-billed oxpeckers that feed on rhinos’ ticks alert them to approaching humans, likely helping the poor-sighted animals survive. Taken together, the results show that “black rhinos are able to eavesdrop on oxpecker alarm calls and by doing so, detect approaching humans at substantially greater distances,” says Daniel Blumstein, an ecologist at the University of California Los Angeles, who wasn’t involved the paper, in an email interview.

Blumstein was also fascinated by what he called the “dose-response”—the fact that each additional oxpecker on a rhino increased the distance at which it detected an approaching human.