Toxic bird

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The hooded pitohui. A neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin found in the birds' skin and feathers causes numbness and tingling in those touching the bird.

Toxic birds are birds that use toxins to defend themselves from predators. No species of bird is known to actively inject or even produce venom, but some birds are known to be poisonous to touch or eat. These birds usually sequester poisons from animals and plants that they feed on, commonly from poisonous insects.

The pitohui, the ifrita, and the rufous or little shrikethrush sequester batrachotoxin in their skin and feathers.[1] The African spur-winged goose is toxic to eat as it sequesters poison in its tissues, from the blister beetles that it feeds on.[2] Common quail are also known to be toxic due to coturnism at certain stages in their migrations.

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  1. ^ Naish, Darren (November 20, 2008). "Ifrita the poisonous passerine". ScienceBlogs. Archived from the original on April 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  2. ^ Naish, Darren (June 19, 2010). "Death by toxic goose. Amazing waterfowl facts part II". ScienceBlogs. Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-28.