Grey Shrike-thrush pairs mate for life and maintain breeding territories of up to 10 hectares. Grey Shrike-thrushes are found in all but the most arid regions of Australia and Tasmania, as well as on the larger offshore islands and in southern New Guinea. The Variable Pitohui is a species of bird in the Colluricinclidae family. A neurotoxin called homobatrachotoxin found in the birds skin and feathers, causes numbness and tingling in those touching the bird. A shrikethrush, also spelt shrike-thrush, is any one of five species of songbird that is a member of the genus Colluricincla.They have nondescript, predominantly brown or grey, plumage, but are accomplished singers, their calls described as "strong, mellow and beautiful." Furthermore, although both species are declining in range and numbers, the red-backed shrike – which used to breed here and now visits just as the great grey is leaving – is virtually extinct as a UK breeding bird. That the first part of its Latin name, Lanius, means butcher could not be more apt, because, after chasing down a small bird or dropping on a vole or lizard, the shrike beats its victim to death with its inch-long beak.
This is a medium-sized bird that is fairly plain olive-brown on
Yet few people have seen shrikes in the flesh. The most notable species are the Hooded Pitohui and Variable Pitohui. Molecular dating suggests the shrikethrushes diverged from the common ancestor of the genus Pseudorectes (their closest relatives) in the mid-Pliocene around 3 million years ago, and that this combined lineage had diverged from the ancestor of the other members of the Pachycephalidae around 5 million years ago in the early Pliocene. In Scotland, however, the bird enjoys the more jovial sobriquet of White Whisky John, due to its slightly erratic, tipsy flight, which reveals its white underparts. In fact, it’s a songbird, albeit with a powerful hooked bill and violent, carnivorous tendencies.
Rufous or Little Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla megarhyncha). Shrikethrushes are generally insectivorous, though have been recorded eating molluscs and berries. All rights reserved. During a study of the toxicity of the genus Pitohui, two specimens of this species have been tested too.
The nest is a cup-shaped structure of dried vegetation, and may be constructed in the same site year after year. In a time when DNA analysis can be performed on a clearly-labelled blood or tissue sample, should biologists still kill - sorry, euthanise - wild and possible declining animal species to provide museum specimens?
Little Shrike Thrush Reveals Its Hidden Diversity. Later, the ‘waryangle’ (little villain or winter angel) is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Friar’s Tale ‘as ful of venym been thise waryangles’ and it was once believed that the thorns the shrike impales its victims on remained poisonous forever. One of them did have traces of batrachotoxins similar to those found in the secretions of Central and South American poison dart frogs.
In the north, the plumage is predominantly brown, and western birds are grey with buff underparts. Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
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