Are there poisonous birds
Are there poisonous birds?
Are any birds poisonous? Surprisingly, a handful of poisonous birds have been identified in Papua New Guinea and research in the future may well reveal that numerous bird species use toxins in some way. The poisonous birds that have been documented so far include the Hooded Pitohui (Pitohui dichrous) , several other species of pitohui, and the Blue-capped Ifrita (Ifrita kowaldi) .
The Hooded Pitohui was the first poisonous bird to be discovered by science — but the native people of Papua New Guinea knew about it far sooner. They call it the “garbage bird” because of its unpleasant smell, and avoid eating it because of the bitter taste and a tendency to make people sick. The Hooded Pitohui has batrachotoxin (BTX) in its dander, and in its skin and feathers, a neurotoxin identical to that used by deadly poison frogs in Colombia, South America. Other pitohui species also have the toxin, but in lower concentrations.
The second poisonous bird genus discovered by scientists is the Ifrita; however, once again, scientists were not the first to encounter the nasty side of the bird. The name given to the Blue-capped Ifrita by local people, slek-yakt, means “bitter bird,” and the Kalam believe that one taste of the feathers can be fatal. The Blue-capped Ifrita lives in a different part of Papua New Guinea, but uses the same toxin as the pitohui.