Everyone knows about the existence of poisonous insects, fish, snakes, frogs, but recently it was discovered that there are also poisonous birds. In 1990, a new bird species was investigated - blackbird flycatchers (pitahu). It turned out that this small and rather cute bird has glands that produce a very strong poison!
The bright orange-black plumage of the pitahu signals the poisonousness of this bird.
Pitahu live only in the forests of New Guinea. Their size is no more than a jay. They have poison in their skin, feathers and almost all internal organs. This poison is akin to batrachotoxin - the one that literally permeates the body of Colombian poison dart frogs (100 times stronger than strychnine). Of course, the concentration of poison in the flycatcher is much lower than in the poison dart frogs. A bird weighing 60-65 grams contains 15-20 milligrams of toxin in the skin and 2-3 milligrams in feathers.
A person getting this poison threatens only with poisoning or severe burns. But mice, toads, frogs, rabbits and dogs die in minutes. The venom of one bird can kill about 800 mice.
Until now, scientists are struggling to solve the question: why does a pitaha have such a strong poison? This bird is not a predator, so they do not need poison for hunting. And this bird has not so many enemies. A possible source of this poison is a tiny nanisani beetle that feeds on the pitahau: a high concentration of batrachotoxin was found in the body of the insect. Another mystery associated with this flycatcher is how does the pitahau avoid self-poisoning?
For humans, this bird does not pose a strong danger for one reason: it is extremely rare to meet a bird - the bird lives in the most impassable forests. But you still need to know that there is a small, but poisonous bird on our planet, touching which can cause many problems.