Pitohui Is the Most Poisonous Bird on Earth

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Posted on: May 19, 2011

Pitohui Is the Most Poisonous Bird on Earth | New Guineans Call Pitohui as Garbage Bird

PitohuiBirds have been domesticated by humans both as pets and for practical purposes. Colorful birds, such as parrots and mynas, are bred in captivity or kept as pets. But there are species of birds that are harmful not only to other animals but to humans as well. The pitohuis are a genus of birds endemic to New Guinea, belonging to the family Pachycephalidae. This cute and colorful bird looks like harmless but it is in fact a very poisonous bird on the planet.

Due to their toxicity, Papua New Guineans call the pitohuis ‘garbage birds’ as they are not good for eating; however in desperate times they can be consumed but only after the feathers and skin are removed and the flesh is coated in charcoal and then roasted. The Hooded Pitohui is a songbird of New Guinea with black and orange plumage. A neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin found in the birds skin and feathers, causes numbness and tingling in those who touch the bird. The Hooded Pitohui acquires its poison from part of its diet, the Choresine beetle which is also a likely source of the lethal batrachotoxins found in Colombia’s poison dart frog.

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