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Alternative names: Black-headed Pitohui; Lesser Pitohui; Lesser Wood-shrike
22 - 23cm, 8.6-9 inches. 67â€“76 g
 Similar species
Similar to some subspecies of Variable Pitohui but note bright rufous plumage.
Endemic to New Guinea. Also on Yapen Island.
Clements accepts two subspecies:
Forests and secondary growth, forest edges, sometimes low trees on beaches and mangroves Found at 350 - 1700m, locally up to 2000m and at sea level
Feeds mainly on fruit but takes also some insects and grass seeds.
Breeding recorded from October to February. The nest is a cup made of curly vine tendrils, suspended from slender branches around 2m above the ground. Lays 1 - 2 creamy or rose eggs, speckled light and dark brown to black, with background light grey patches.
Song is irregular. A series of combinations of 3â€“7 harmonic whistles, with up- and downslurs of varying length interspersed with reluctant spaces. Normally starting with 2 notes of thesame pitch followed by upslur. Other sounds include â€śtuk tuk wâ€™oh tuwâ€™uowâ€ť, two noisy whistles, â€śwoiy, woiyâ€ť, two downslurred whistles, â€śtiuw towâ€ť; three ascending whistles getting louder, â€śhui-whui-whooeeâ€ť and six fast, identical upslurs.
The skin and feathers contain powerful neurotoxic alkaloids of the batrachotoxin group (also secreted by the Colombian poison dart frogs, genus Phyllobates). It is believed that these serve the birds as a chemical defence, either against ectoparasites or against visually guided predators such as snakes, raptors or humans. (Dumbacher, et al., 1992) The birds probably do not produce batrachotoxin themselves. It is most likely that the toxins come from the Choresine genus of beetles, part of the bird's diet. (Dumbacher, et al., 2004)
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