Wacky Wednesday December 29, 2010

For today’s wacky Wednesday:

The Hoopoe

Found in Africa, Europe and Asia, and recently chosen as Israel’s national bird, this relative to kingfishers is noted for its unusual flight (similar to that of a butterfly), its spectacular feather crest and its nasty defensive technique.

Hoopoes have a special gland near the anus, which produces a foul-smelling substance. The bird rubs this substance on its feathers, covering its entire body with a stench similar to that of rotten flesh. Not many predators are interested on having such a foul-smelling bird for dinner.
This substance, however, has a second function; it acts as a parasite repellent, and as an antibacterial agent, protecting the hoopoe from many diseases.

Interestingly, the adult hoopoes produce this secretion only when incubating its eggs and taking care of its young; once the chicks leave the nest, the mother stops producing the noxious substance.

As for baby hoopoes, they have their very own defensive method; when threatened while alone at the nest, they squirt their feces right into the predator’s face. Needless to say, this is a very effective technique to get rid of unwanted visitors.

Go to http://listverse.com/2010/12/23/10-birds-with-truly-odd-defenses/ for more wackiness.

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Am all alone in the faculty room today. I think I’ll take the afternoon off. It’s still a bit early, but already my internal clock is wanting to count down the end of the old year. Another thing I want to count is how many careless people are going to have their digits blown off this year end.  Hope nobody gets hurt, or worse, killed, by a stray bullet.

Ciao!

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