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World's heaviest flying bird may be self-medicating on plants used in traditional medicine


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

If you see a great bustard (Otis tarda) in the wild, you're unlikely to forget it. Massive, colorful, and impossible to mistake, they are the heaviest birds living today capable of flight, with the greatest size difference between the sexes. They are also "lek breeders," where males gather at chosen sites to put on an audiovisual show for the visiting females, who choose a mate based on his appearance and the quality of his showbirdship.

But now, a study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution suggests that great bustards have another claim to our interest: they actively seek out two plants with compounds that can kill pathogens. They may thus be a rare example of a bird that uses plants against disease—that is, self-medication.

https://phys.org/news/2022-11-world-heaviest-flying-bird-self-medicating.html

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2022.1027201/full

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