Monday, January 28, 2008

Little Dudes: Pitohui, poisonous bird


This colorful little dude is the Pitohui dichrous, one of a small family of poisonous birds found only in New Guinea. The feathers and skin of many of the Pitohuis contain various Batrachotoxins, the same type of poisons found in the skin of Poison Dart Frogs. Although the specifics aren't yet known, scientists are confident that the birds receive the poison in their diet, then incorporate it into their skin and feathers.

Here is an audio of an interview with Bruce Beehler, a scientist who is searching very remote sections of New Guinea to find more of these rare birds. And here is a well-written National Zoo article on the discovery of the poisonous birds of New Guinea.

There is one other poisonous bird in New Guinea, it turns out, the Blue-capped Ifrita. New Guinea has a stamp with a good image of one.

Off to exams.

Enjoy the natural anomalies, especially the colorful ones,

Bp

8 comments:

Stu Farnham said...

Is it pronounced 'patooey'?

From wiki.answers.com: What does patooey mean? It is a word used in cartoons that describes the action of someone spitting [ed. note: seems like an appropriate reaction to a poisonous bird]

Enjoy your onomstopoeic namess

good rever'nd said...

Liking the side-by-side photos of you and the Pitohui in your safety orange plumage!

Stu Farnham said...

Most excellent, rev, good catch!

Bpaul said...

Well, I never did realize that -- kind of a spiffy look if I do say so myself.

You see, I'm giving a false signal -- trying to give the impression that I'm poisonous so I won't be eated. Like the viceroy butterfly...

Stu Farnham said...

Regarding my intial comment:

I have often said that I cn Spel, I justt cannt tipe.

'onomatopoeic names'
Sheesh.

Bpaul said...

Gotta love no comment editing, even for original author...

matt_stansberry said...

I agree -- the similaries between BP and patooey are striking.

Katye said...

I particularly like the thuggish look in the bird eye and it's expert use of vaccuum cleaners (not pictured but inferred).

Anybody want a tax job until April? I need a vacation already!