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Papua New Guinea’s Unique Poisonous Bird

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Papua New Guinea’s Unique Poisonous Bird

When you think of poisonous animals, you generally think of snakes, spiders and various marine life like pufferfish. Some people may think of some of the odder poisonous animals like poison dart frogs and the platypus. But who would ever think of a beautiful black and orange bird?

But if you asked those that live on Papua New Guinea, they would be quick to tell you to stay away from the hooded pitohui, (Pitohui dichrous), pronounced pit-eww-ease.

In 1989, John Dumbacher, Chairman and Assistant Curator of the Department of Ornithology and Mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences, traveled to Papua New Guinea where he became aware of their unique poisonous bird. They were conducting field research on the Raggiana bird of paradise. They were using nets to catch the birds, but not unexpectedly, they also netted other birds.

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