5 Interesting Facts About Hooded Pitohuis

Hooded Pitohui

Here is a hooded pitohui, looking for a beetle to eat

So far on this blog, I’ve written about poisonous frogs, snakes, spiders and lizards, but I didn’t know about poisonous birds.  The first bird that was discovered to be poisonous is the hooded pitohui.

Here are five interesting facts about them:

  1. These beautifully coloured birds grow to about 23 cm long.  Despite their colours, they are related to crows and ravens.  They have a crest on the top of their heads that they raise when alarmed.
  2. Hooded pitohuis were the first birds that were found to be poisonous.  They get their poison from the beetles that they eat.  These beetles come from the same family as the ones that the golden poison arrow frogs from South America eat.
  3. They lay their eggs in cup-shaped nests and the females rub the poison from their feathers onto the eggs when they sit on them.  Snakes have been seen eating the eggs and then vomiting them back up.
  4. The poison is in the pitohui’s feathers and skin, so if you touch them with your hands, it makes your hands numb.
  5. Hooded pitohuis are fairly common and can be found in the rainforests and jungles of New Guinea.

I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.

Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about hooded pitohuis?

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