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Oxpecker Kali
The Elegance of Africa SCS Event Piece


Find out how this feathered hitchhiker enjoys free rides and meals while living among the great African beasts


The red-billed oxpecker lives among the largest mammals in eastern Africa. Gray plumage graduating to a cream color for the belly, a solid red beak and yellow-lined eyes define their look. Oxpeckers are relatively small; growing 18 to 23 centimeters, they are only slightly larger than a sparrow. Oxpeckers like to nest in cavities and are known to pull tufts of fur off their hosts—and even nearby sheep—to line their nests.

Concerning their living arrangements, they’ve landed on the sunny side of life. Oxpeckers tend to spend most of their time on the backs of large herbivores, freeing their hosts of pests and insects by eating them. Oxpeckers usually hitch rides on large animals like elephants, giraffes, buffalos, zebras and rhinos but, in areas with cattle, they will also feed on farm animal pests. A full-grown oxpecker will eat hundreds of bugs per day, so it's an excellent ally to have. 

Much like an alarm system, oxpeckers will cause quite a racket when a predator approaches the host animal For animals with poor eyesight, such as the rhinoceros, this can prove vital. In turn, living on the backs of large animals protects the oxpecker from birds of prey.

Swarovski designer Heinz Tabertshofer created this year's event piece, the Oxpecker Kali. More than twenty years of design experience and a wealth of technical know-how gives him a unique understanding of crystal and how to shape it. His meticulous designs speak of his appreciation for nature, which serves as a constant source of inspiration. Heinz Tabertshofer’s Oxpecker Kali is created in stunning clear crystal with colored accents. A close look at the eyes reveals his love of detail: A Light Topaz crystal background is complemented by dazzling Sun crystal and a Moroda crystal pupil. The 205 brilliantly positioned facets play with the light, adding the signature Swarovski touch to this piece.

Oxpecker Kali is exclusively available for purchase to Swarovski Crystal Society members at SCS events and pairs exceptionally well with the SCS Annual Edition Zebra Amai to build your collection of Elegance of Africa pieces.


Invitations go out two to three weeks before local SCS events, giving you plenty of time to plan and sign up. This year’s SCS online events will take place in early summer and fall 2021; you can expect to receive full details in the SCS Newsletter. If you’re interested in membership, you can easily join online and enjoy instant benefits. Please reach out to the customer care team with any questions.

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