The Albert N'Yanza, Great Basin of the Nile And Explorations of the Nile Sources by Sir Samuel W. Baker









 -  This bird is of a greenish-brown colour, with a
powerful red beak, and excessively strong claws. It is a - Page 113
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This Bird Is Of A Greenish-Brown Colour, With A Powerful Red Beak, And Excessively Strong Claws.

It is a perfect pest to the animals, and positively eats them into holes.

The original object of the bird in settling upon the animal is to search for vermin, but it is not contented with the mere insects, and industriously pecks holes in all parts of the animal, more especially on the back. A wound once established, adds to the attraction, and the unfortunate animal is so pestered that it has no time to eat. I was obliged to hire little boys to watch the donkeys, and to drive off these plagues; but so determined and bold were the birds, that I have constantly seen them run under the body of the donkey, clinging to the belly with their feet, and thus retreating to the opposite side of the animal when chased by the watch-boys. In a few days my animals were full of wounds, excepting the horses, whose long tails were effectual whisks. Although the temperature was high, 95 degrees Fahr., the wind was frequently cold at about three o'clock in the morning, and one of my horses, "Priest," that I had lately purchased of the Mission, became paralysed, and could not rise from the ground. After several days' endeavours to cure him, I was obliged to shoot him, as the poor animal could not eat.

I now weighed all my baggage, and found that I had fifty-four cantars (100 lbs.

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