Phrynonax poecilonotus

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Phrynonax poecilonotus
Bird-eating snake (7607449358).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Phrynonax
Species: P. poecilonotus
Binomial name
Phrynonax poecilonotus
(Günther, 1858)
  • Spilotes poecilonotus
    Günther, 1858
  • Phrynonax poecilonotus
    Boulenger, 1894
  • Pseustes poecilonotus
    Brongersma, 1937
  • Phrynonax poecilonotus
    Jadin et al., 2013

Phrynonax poecilonotus is a species of nonvenomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to the New World.

Common names[edit]

P. poecilonotus is commonly known in Trinidad and Tobago as dos cocorite, in Brazil as papa-ovo, and in English as the puffing snake or the bird snake.

Geographic range[edit]

P. poecilonotus is found from Mexico through Central America to northern and central South America and Trinidad and Tobago.[2][3]


P. poecilonotus apparently eats any terrestrial vertebrate small enough to handle and is well known as a predator of bird eggs (hence some of the common names).


The color pattern of P. poecilonotus is relatively consistent, darker dorsally and lighter, usually yellow, ventrally. Young snakes can be more colorful than adults and so may mistakenly be thought to be a different species. However, when handled, their behavior is similar, and they will readily bite.[4]


  1. ^ "Phrynonax poecilonotus ". The Reptile Database.
  2. ^ Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto (1986). Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata. Part I. Snakes. Washington, District of Columbia: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 0-87474-757-0. 
  3. ^ Boos, Hans E.A. (2001). The Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1-58544-116-3. 
  4. ^ Roper, James J.; Goldstein, Rachel R. (2001). "A test of the Skutch Hypothesis: does activity at nests increase nest predation risk?". Journal of Avian Biology 28: 111-116. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA (1894). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xi + 382 pp. + Plates I-XX. (Phrynonax pœcilonotus, new combination, p. 20).
  • Freiberg M (1982). Snakes of South America. Hong Kong: T.F.H. Publications. 189 pp. ISBN 0-87666-912-7. (Pseustes poecilonotus, p. 108 + color photo on p. 151).
  • Günther A (1858). Catalogue of the Colubrine Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xvi + 281 pp. (Spilotes pœcilonotus, new species, pp. 100–101).
  • Jadin, Robert C.; Burbrink, Frank T.; Rivas, Gilson A.; Vitt, Laurie J.; Barrio-Amorós, César L.; Guralnick, Robert P. (2013). "Finding arboreal snakes in an evolutionary tree: phylogenetic placement and systematic revision of the Neotropical birdsnakes". Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 52 (3): 257-264.