Significance to humans

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A few species are shy but most are curious and tame. In parks and inhabited areas, this confiding and vocal nature draws attention. Many species readily respond to human whistles and squeaks, and so can be readily attracted. The gray shrike-thrush will nest in potted plants around houses. For the most part, however, these birds remain unfamiliar to most of the public.

New Guinea inhabitants reported that pitohuis were bad eating birds. In 1992, Jack Dumbacher and his colleagues discovered that these birds had a strong toxin in their feathers and soft tissue, which confer this unpalatibility.

1. Golden whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis); 2. Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla); 3. Regent whistler (Pachycephala schlegelii); 4. Crested bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis); 5. Little shrike-thrush (Colluricincla megarhyncha); 6. Eastern shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus); 7. Rufous-naped whistler (Alead-ryas rufinucha); 8. Gray shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica); 9. Rufous whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris); 10. Variable pitohui (Pitohui kirho-cephalus). (Illustration by Emily Damstra)

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