Parasite threatens many of Britain’s best-loved birds

Emerging infectious diseases do not only affect humans. Wildlife is threatened as well, and an alarming report from Britain documents an avian tragedy of great proportions.

ResearchBlogging.orgEmerging protozoan caused diseases are seriously affecting British populations of Carduelis chloris, the greenfinch, and and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, a chaffinch, two of Britian’s most common birds.

The offending organism is a new and fatal disease first found in Britain’s finches in 2005, Trichomonas gallinae. Within two years of its appearance, greenfinch breeding populations ad decreased by 35%, and chaffinch populations by 21%. That totals to something like 500,000 birds or more. Bird die offs occur for a lot of reasons, but the study at hand compares regions where Trichomonas gallinae is not seen, or is seen in only low levels, and this sort of decline is not seen there.

The paper, Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds should be available at this link for you to read.

Robinson, Robert, Lawson, Becki, Toms, Mike, Peck, Kirsi, Kirckwood,James, Chantrye, Julian, Clatworthy, Innes, Evans, Andy, Hughes, Laura, Hutchinson, Oliver, John, Shinto, Pennycot, Tom, Perkins, Matthew, Rowle, Peter, Simpson, Vic, Tyler, Kevin, & Cunningham, Andrew (2010). Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds
PLoS ONE, 5 (8)

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2 thoughts on “Parasite threatens many of Britain’s best-loved birds

  1. Hang on – doesn’t the “gallinae” mean it’s only for roosters? 😛

    Damn that Nature – always coming up with new organisms to threaten the existence of other organisms.

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