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Researchers help endangered birds beat deadly parasite

Source: anu.edu.au

Researchers have found a way to help one of Australia’s rarest birds ‘self-fumigate’ or safeguard their nests, to protect their young from deadly parasites.

The endangered forty-spotted pardalotes nest in the hollows of old trees. They build small nests using grass, tree bark and soft feathers found on the forest floor. These snug nests keep their chicks warm and dry.

However, parasitic flies (Passeromyia longicornis) are attracted to these cozy nests. When the eggs of the pardalotes hatch, the fly maggots burrow into the skin of the baby birds to feed on their blood. MORE