19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Rufous Treepie Lending a Helping Hand

The long-tailed bird, called a Rufous Treepie, is typically found in India and parts of Southeast Asia. It’s known to have a symbiotic, harmonious relationship with the Sambar deer, and offers a helping hand by picking out ectoparasites, such as fleas and ticks, from the deer’s eyes. In this photograph, you can see that the deer has positioned itself to let the treepie go to work. The interaction reminded me of a parent helping a human child pick out a splinter.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 01.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2021
Photo Location: Hoshangabad, India
Camera: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Copyright: © Nathan Myhrvold