Bird Families

POISONOUS BIRD

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Thrush flycatchers, Pitohui (Latin Pitohui) are a genus of passerine birds from the family of Australian whistlers. The bird has glands that produce a very strong poison. There are several types of pitohui:

  • Volatile blackbird flycatcher Pitohui kirhocephalus (Lesson & Garnot, 1827)
  • Bicolor blackbird flycatcher, bicolor pytochu Pitohui dichrous (Bonaparte, 1850)
  • Motley-breasted Thrush Flycatcher, Motley-breasted Pitokhu Pitohui incertus (van Oort, 1909)
  • Red-headed blackbird flycatcher Pitohui ferrugineus (Bonaparte, 1850)
  • Crested Thrush Flycatcher, Crested Pytoxus Pitohui cristatus (Salvadori, 1875)
  • Blackbird flycatcher, black pytochu Pitohui nigrescens (Schlegel, 1871)

Bicolor pitohui (lat.Pitohui dichrous)


Bicolor thrush flycatcher or bicolor pitohu (lat. Pitohui dichrous ) has glands that produce a very strong poison. The bright orange-black plumage of the pytochus signals the toxicity of this bird.

They live only in the forests of New Guinea. Not larger than a jay. The poison is found in the skin, feathers and almost all internal organs. The poison of New Guinea birds is akin to batrachotoxin - the very one that literally permeates the body of Colombian poison dart frogs. This poison is 100 times more powerful than strychnine.


Of course, in a flycatcher, the concentration of poison in the body is much lower than in the body of poison dart frogs. A bird weighing 60-65 g contains 15-20 mg of toxin in the skin and 2-3 mg in feathers.

For a person, the ingress of this poison threatens only with poisoning or severe burns, but rabbits, dogs, mice, toads and frogs die in a matter of minutes. One bird can kill about 800 mice.

Scientists are still struggling to resolve the question: why does a pito need such a strong poison? After all, this little bird is not a predator, so they do not need poison for hunting. Yes, and this bird does not have so many enemies. Possible source of this poison is a tiny bug. Choresine pulchraeaten by pito: a high concentration of batrachotoxin was found in the body of this insect. Another mystery associated with this flycatcher is how does the python avoid self-poisoning?

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