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)
  • Rectes dichrous

The hooded pitohui (Pitohui dichrous) is a is a species of pitohui in the family Oriolidae found in New Guinea. It has black and orange plumage and both sexes have colored patches. It is one of the few known poisonous birds.

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

Alternate names for the hooded pitohui include the black-headed pitohui and lesser pitohui.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

This species and the other pitohuis 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]


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 (2016). "Pitohui dichrous". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  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]