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Still Waters

Some birds observed stealing hair from living mammals

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Still Waters

Dozens of online videos document an unusual behavior among tufted titmice and their closest bird kin. A bird will land on an unsuspecting mammal and, cautiously and stealthily, pluck out some of its hair.

A new paper in the journal Ecology documents this phenomenon, which the authors call "kleptotrichy," from the Greek roots for "theft" and "hair." The authors found only a few descriptions of the behavior in the scientific literature but came up with dozens more examples in online videos posted by birders and other bird enthusiasts. In almost all the videorecorded cases, the thief is a titmouse plucking hair from a cat, dog, human, raccoon or, in one case, porcupine.

https://phys.org/news/2021-07-birds-hair-mammals.html

https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecy.3501

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theotherguy

Stealing hair from a porcupine? That's pretty ambitious.

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