Apr 20, 2024, 09:54 PM IST

This bird is more poisonous than snake

Shweta Singh

The Hooded Pitohui, native to New Guinea, is the world's only known poisonous bird, with toxins in its skin and feathers.

Its bright orange and black plumage serves as a warning to predators of its toxicity, similar to poisonous frogs.

The bird's toxins are believed to come from its diet, particularly from consuming Choresine beetles.

Handling a Hooded Pitohui can cause skin irritation, and ingestion can lead to vomiting and numbness.

Scientists have identified a neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin in the bird's skin and feathers, similar to those found in poison dart frogs.

The toxicity of the Hooded Pitohui serves as a defense mechanism against potential predators, deterring them from making a meal out of it.

Indigenous people of New Guinea have reportedly used the bird's toxins on arrow tips for hunting.

Despite its toxicity, the Hooded Pitohui is not harmful to humans if handled with care and not ingested.

Studying the Hooded Pitohui's unique adaptation to produce toxins provides insights into evolutionary biology and chemical ecology.