Hooded pitohui

The most poisonous living pitohui species


This medium-sized, brightly chestnut-colored songbird has jet-black head, tail, and wings. They prefer thick forests, occasionally found in secondary growth and mangroves. Commonly occurs in higher elevations, inhabiting New Guinea, including the ISL of Yapen.

It feeds with family and friends, mostly on fruits, grass seeds, and insects. This social bird helped to raise young by a family group by providing protection and feeding the nestlings.

The toxicity of the bird was known to the locals of New Guinea from ancient times but was later discovered scientifically. Müllerian mimicry is adapted by other unrelated species that copy the pitohui plumage. Calls are with various vocalizations and whistles.


Population est.
Papua New Guinea

Did you know?

  • The toxicity function in this species is debatable among scientists.
  • The name originates from the musical whistle of the bird, which sounds like pi-too-hui or pit-oo-eey.
  • Young, when threatened in the nest, display the warning signals as toxic species do, but they are not even poisonous at that age.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No