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Category:Pitohui - BirdForum Opus

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Genus: Pitohui


The Pitohui of New Guinea are famous for containing toxic substances that may be used for defence. Homobatrachotoxins (the same as in arrow-poison frogs from South America) are found in the feathers and skin. It's not clear if this evolved as protection against predators or against ectoparasites. The Hooded Pitohui is obviously the most toxic species.
They are similar to the Shrike-thrushes in shape but they are larger in size and have a more robust bill and stronger legs.


Pitohui is a genus in the family Oriolidae, it was formerly included in Pachycephalidae.
After a recent study2 reported that this genus is polyphyletic, i.e., it should either be split or some additional species be added until it becomes monophyletic (monophyletic means that all offspring of the last common ancestor of the included species are included in the grouping). The study additionally proposes that some of the similarities seen among the species have evolved as mimicry, and that toxicity has developed several times among the ancestors of the Pitohui.
As a consequence several species (Rusty Pitohui, White-bellied Pitohui, Black Pitohui and Crested Pitohui) have been moved to other genera.

Genus Pitohui viewedit
P. dichrous Hooded Pitohui
P. cerviniventris Raja Ampat Pitohui
P. kirhocephalus Northern Variable Pitohui
P. uropygialis Southern Variable Pitohui


  1. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2007. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553422
  2. Dumbacher JP, Deiner K, Thompson L, Fleischer RC. 2008. Mol Phylogenet Evol. Abstract read in November 2008

Recommended Citation

Pages in category ‘Pitohui’

The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.