Overview

Comprehensive Description

Hooded Pitohui

The Hooded Pitohui, Pitohui dichrous is a songbird of New Guinea with black and orange plumage.

This species and its two close relatives, the Variable Pitohui and the Brown Pitohui, were the first documented poisonous birds. A neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin found in the birds' skin and feathers, causes numbness and tingling in those touching the bird.

The Hooded Pitohui acquires its poison from part of its diet, the Choresine beetles of the Melyridae family. These beetles[verification needed] are also a likely source of the lethal batrachotoxins found in Colombia's poison dart frogs.[1]

Common and widespread throughout New Guinea, the Hooded Pitohui is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

  • 1.^ Dumbacher et al., PNAS 101(45):15857-15860
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Adult has head black, upperparts rufous- chestnut, upperwing and tail black; chin, throat and upper breast black, remainder of underparts bright rufous- chestnut; iris reddish- brown, dark brown or black; bill and legs black. Sexes alike. Juvenile is like adult, but remiges and rectrices edged with brown.

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Distribution

Distribution:


    New Guinea, including Yapen I.


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Physical Description

Size

22- 23 cm; 67- 76 g

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Diagnostic Description

Adult has head black, upperparts rufous- chestnut, upperwing and tail black; chin, throat and upper breast black, remainder of underparts bright rufous- chestnut; iris reddish- brown, dark brown or black; bill and legs black. Sexes alike. Juvenile is like adult, but remiges and rectrices edged with brown.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Forest, forest edges and secondary growth, occasionally mangroves and low beach trees. Occurs in hills and lower to middle mountains at 350- 1700 m, occasionally to 2000m; locally down to sea- level (e.g. Jayapura, Madang, Huon Peninsula, Lae, middle R Fly, Hall Sound, Hisiu). At elevations between those occupied by P. kirhocephalus and P. nigrescens, with some overlap.

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Trophic Strategy

Mainly fruit, including small figs (Ficus); some insects and grass seeds. Nestlings fed with berries and invertebrates. Found at most levels, from undergrowth to canopy.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Laying female in mid- Oct, nests with eggs in mid- Nov and mid- Feb, with chicks late Oct, mid- Dec and mid- Feb, also fledglings late Oct and early Nov, indicative of breeding in late dry season to middle wet season, at least. Possibly co- operative breeder; at least three adults seen to feed chicks at one nest, and four or five defending nest. Nest a cup of curly vine tendrils, lined with fine tendrils, suspended from slender branches c. 2 m above groung. Clutch 1- 2 eggs, creamy or light pinkish- stone, spotted and blotched light and dark brown to black, with underlying light grey patches all over or mainly at larger end, 27- 32,8 x 20,5- 22,2 mm.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pitohui dichrous

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Not Threatened

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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be locally fairly common to common (Coates 1990).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Wikipedia

Hooded pitohui

The Hooded Pitohui (Pitohui dichrous) is a songbird of New Guinea with black and orange plumage. Both male and female birds have colored patches in their plumage. This species is sometimes placed in the family Oriolidae.

Toxin[edit]

This species and its two close relatives, the Variable Pitohui and the Rusty Pitohui, were the first documented poisonous birds. 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 Melyridae family.[4] These beetles[verification needed] are also a likely source of the lethal batrachotoxins found in Colombia's poison dart frogs.[5]

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.[6]

References[edit]

  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. ^ BirdLife Species Factsheet
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