Awkward relationship or the best symbiosis

Picture above is showing a special relationship between two very different species that has a practical purpose for both. Captured at Cona Nature Reserve, Italy.

The Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) accompany the Camargue horses (Equus ferus caballus) to eat the bugs and other tiny critters that are stirred up by the horses’ hooves. These relatively small birds also relieve the Camargue horses of the annoying and biting flies and ticks that are abundant around and on horses.

This way Cattle egrets have a constant feed of food and camargue horses a big relief from the nagging insects.

I saw very similar relationships with the cattle in Haiti and the Egrets there. They’re best friends!

It’s amazing to see that Camargue horse that calmly allows the Cattle Egret to pick a bug/tick exactly on its eye. That’s a real trust. Looks that both species are aware of the mutual benefits of such symbiosis.