Scientists look at deodorant for New Zealand's smelly birds

Sep 24, 2010
This handout photo taken on September 12 and provided by New Zealand's Department of Conservation shows a newly born kiwi chick at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch. Scientists say they are hoping to develop a deodorant for New Zealand's native birds to stop them falling prey to introduced predators.

Scientists say they are hoping to develop a deodorant for New Zealand's native birds to stop them falling prey to introduced predators.

New Zealand has an abundance of native bird species, including the famous kiwi, but no native land mammals, meaning introduced animals such as cats and stoats have had a devastating impact on bird numbers.

Canterbury University reseacher Jim Briskie said Friday it appeared New Zealand birds suffered from body odour, making them an easy target for .

Briskie said unlike their overseas counterparts, which evolved alongside mammals, New Zealand birds emitted a strong smell when preened to produce wax to protect their feathers.

He said the kiwi smelled like mushrooms or , while the flightless kakapo parrot's odour was like "musty violin cases", possibly contributing to its endangered status.

The Marsden scientific research fund has given Briskie a 600,000 dollar (440,000 US) grant to study native bird body odours over the next three years in the hope of making them less exposed to predators.

"Down the line, if we do find some species are particularly smelly or vulnerable, perhaps I can design a deodorant for kiwis," he told the Dominion Post newspaper.

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New Zealand bird outwits alien predators

Jun 04, 2008

New research published in this week's PLoS ONE, led by Dr Melanie Massaro and Dr Jim Briskie at the University of Canterbury, which found that the New Zealand bellbird is capable of changing its nesting behaviour to protect ...

Bird molecules challenge to Moa's Ark theory

May 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The so-called "Moa's Ark" theory - that New Zealand's animal and plant life has evolved largely untouched over 80 million years since the Gondwana supercontinent broke up - is being challenged ...

Scientists nail quail mystery

Oct 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A Massey biology researcher has used DNA analysis to prove quail on Tiritiri Matangi Island are Australian and not remnants of an extinct New Zealand species.

Rare kiwi hatches in quake-hit N.Zealand

Sep 13, 2010

An endangered New Zealand kiwi that survived a buffeting in its egg during this month's Christchurch earthquake has hatched safely, in a boost to conservation efforts, officials said Monday.

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...