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Prevalence of haematozoa in birds of prey in Catalonia, north-east Spain
  1. E. Muñoz, DVM, PhD1,
  2. D. Ferrer, DVM, PhD1,
  3. R. Molina, DVM2 and
  4. R. D. Adlard, PhD3
  1. 1 Unitat de Parasitologia i Malalties Parasitàries, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 Hospital Zoològic Badalona, carrer Conquista 74, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3 Protozoa Section, Queensland Museum, Box 3300 South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, Australia


Blood samples from birds of prey, 95 Strigiformes and 190 Falconiformes, were examined for the presence of haematozoan parasites. The birds had been admitted to a raptor recovery centre in Catalonia, north-east Spain. Parasites were counted in positive smears. A second blood sample was obtained from 99 birds at least seven days after their arrival at the centre. Haematozoa were detected in all seven species of Strigiformes and in nine of 19 species of Falconiformes. The overall prevalences in the two groups were significantly different, 30.5 per cent and 46.3 per cent in the noctumal and diumal raptors, respectively. Eleven species of haematozoan parasites were identified. The genus most commonly detected in members of the noctumal Strigiformes was Leucocytozoon, followed by Haemoproteus, Plasmodium and Trypanosoma. In the diumal Falconiformes only Leucocytozoon and Haemoproteus were detected. The highest infection rates were found in Accipiter nisus (sparrow hawks),Accipiter gentilis (goshawks) and Athene noctua (little owls). Relapses were detected in 9 per cent of the birds sampled twice. The highest intensity of infection (6.2 per cent) was observed in a Buteo buteo (buzzard) infected with Haemoproteus.

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