Hooded pitohui

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Hooded pitohui
Pitohui dichrous.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Oriolidae
Genus: Pitohui
Species: P. dichrous
Binomial name
Pitohui dichrous
Bonaparte, 1850

The hooded pitohui (Pitohui dichrous) is a pitohui of New Guinea with black and orange plumage. Both male and female birds have colored patches in their plumage. It is one of the few known poisonous birds. This species now usually placed in the family Oriolidae.


This species and its two close relatives, the variable pitohui and the rusty pitohui, were the first documented poisonous birds other than the poisonous common quail that cause coturnism. A neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin, found in the birds' skin and feathers, causes numbness and tingling in those touching the bird.[2][3]

The hooded pitohui may acquire its poison from part of its diet, the Choresine beetles of the family Melyridae.[4] These beetles are also a likely source of the lethal batrachotoxins found in Colombia's poison dart frogs.[5][6]

Conservation status[edit]

Common and widespread throughout New Guinea, the hooded pitohui is evaluated as least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Pitohui dichrous". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ http://fora.tv/2010/03/17/Expedition_Papua_New_Guinea_with_Jack_Dumbacher
  3. ^ Natalie Angier: Rare Bird Indeed Carries Poison in Bright Feathers. New York Times 1992-10-30
  4. ^ http://www.pnas.org/content/101/45/15857.full
  5. ^ Dumbacher et al., PNAS 101(45):15857-15860
  6. ^ Symons, Mitchell (8 November 2012). The Bumper Book For The Loo: Facts and figures, stats and stories – an unputdownable treat of trivia. Transworld. p. 308. ISBN 978-1-4481-5271-1. 
  7. ^ BirdLife Species Factsheet

External links[edit]