The Bihar Post

Little bird known to be tiger’s ‘dentist’ traced in eastern Bihar


PATNA: A little bird which is fondly called the “dentist” of the flesh-eating animals, such as Tigers and lions, has been traced in Purnia district of Bihar, environmentalists said today.

Rufous treepie, a little bird with long tail has been found in Purnia district. The main colour of this bird’s body is cinnamon with its head black and long tail bluish grey and white.

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According to ornithologists, this bird enters very fast into the mouth of the carnivorous animals and eats the flesh stuck in their teeth which causes them pain.

The removal of their small flesh stuck in their mouth, thus, relives their toothache and they don’t harm the birds.

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“It is known as tiger’s dentists,” a local environmentalist HImkar Mishra told a news channel.

“The beak of this bird is designed in such a way that it quickly pulls out fleshes stuck in the tooth of tigers. It survives on such fleshes but in the area where tigers or such flesh-eating animals are not found, these birds eat inspects,” a prominent ornithologist Arvind Joshi told the local media on Wednesday. Joshi hails from Mumbai.

According to wikepedia, the range of this species is quite large, covering all of mainland India up to the Himalyas, Pakistan and southeasterly in a  broad band into Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.  It is also known to take flesh from recently killed carcasses.

The birds are known to be a cleaning symbiont of deer, feeding on ectoparasites of sambar which permit them to perch and position themselves to invite the birds to examine specific parts, according to wikepedia.

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