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Winged Wisdom: The Surprising Health Hacks of Birds

In a stunning revelation from the animal kingdom, the great bustard, a majestic flyer, has been found to engage in a practice that mirrors human herbal medicine.

health hacks of birds


  • Great bustards, the heaviest flying birds on Earth, seem to seek out specific medicinal plants, perhaps to self-medicate against parasites and pathogens
  • Scientists collected 623 droppings from the birds and analyzed their contents of different plant species
  • Two different plants — corn poppies (Papaver rhoeas) and purple viper’s bugloss (Echium plantagineum) — appeared in abundance
  • Both plants have antiparasitic effects while purple viper’s bugloss is also antifungal
  • Due to great bustards’ unique mating process, which is so elaborate it takes a toll on males’ immune systems, it’s likely the medicinal plants may be used for their immune-boosting properties as well

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