Human Hair Behind Pigeons' Lost Toes In Urban Areas, Study Finds

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Pigeons lose their toes after the get tangled in human hair and due to rising levels of air and noise pollution according to a study. More green spaces can help

Written By Pragya Puri | Mumbai | Updated On:

The scientists have been looking for answers to why Pigeons in the urban regions lose their toes. They anticipated that the most obvious reason could be infection due to an increase in pollution levels or reaction to chemical pollutants in the urban environment. However, the French researchers found that the actual reason could be ‘human hair’. 

Researchers evaluate the cause of toe mutilation in Pigeons

According to a study conducted by the National Museum of Natural History and the University of Lyon, they studied the cases of toe mutilation in 46 sites around Paris. The study revealed shocking results, according to which the main reason for the missing toes in pigeons is due to human pollution. The research also found that the increase in the air and water pollution also causes toe mutilation. It recorded that the pigeon population inhabited in these regions has fewer toes as compared to the bird population which inhabits a pollution-free environment. 

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High density of hairdressers cause less number of toes

The scientists also found that places with more number of hairdressers affected pigeon. Pigeons lose their toes after getting their claws entangled in human hair. The problem is likely to increase with an increase in the density of hairdressers. The scientists suggest that green environments can benefit the bird population.  

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World's loudest bird

White bellbird has beaten the record of its rainforest neighbor, the screaming piha, for the title of the world's loudest bird. According to a study, the hair-raising screech of a male bellbird is at least nine decibels (dB) louder than that of a piha, volumes of which can be as high as 125 dB. The bird which lives in the mountains of the north-eastern Amazon emits deafening screech when looking for a mate. 

Biologist Jeff Podos at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Mario Cohn-Haft of Brazil's Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia described the record-breaking finding in the paper published in the journal.


By 2030, 40% Indians will not have access to drinking water