March 19, 2012

Behold the Barf Bird!

Oh man, I just read a great article about how a bird called the Eurasian roller protects itself. Thanks, Discovery News!
Offspring of the bright-blue jackdaw-sized bird [the Eurasian roller, Coracias garrulus] throw up a repugnant fluid when they are frightened in their nests... Covered in vomit, the nestlings not surprisingly become less attractive as a snack... But the smell also alerts parents, returning to the nest, that a threatening incident has happened in their absence, they believe.... 
Previous research has found that birds have a surprisingly wide range of defensive reactions. The common eider (Somateria mollissima) and northern shoveler (Anas acuta) have the ability to spray feces on their eggs to deter mammal egg-thieves.

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