Occurence of Heterakis gallinarum and Ascaridia galli in village weaver birds (Ploceus cucullatus) in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
Over the years, the study of parasites in avian species has merged the broad disciplines of parasitology, helminthology, entomology and arachnology with the fields of population biology, evolutionary biology, pathology and ecology. The increased interest in wildlife biodiversity and their role as an important interface in the spread of zoonoses and emerging diseases has further increased the attention. In wild birds however, parasitism while being a common feature could either result in subclinical (with potential as transport or reservoir host), clinical (in birds serving as definitive host) or asymptomatic manifestation. This study is therefore aimed at seeking the occurrence of parasites in village weaver birds (Ploceus cucullatus) found in Ibadan metropolis, south-western Nigeria. Thirty village weaver birds captured in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria were euthanized and the entire alimentary tracts were collected post-mortem. The intestinal contents were then subjected to coprological analysis. On microscopic examination, the morphological appearances of the ova observed were consistent with those of Heterakis gallinarum and Ascaridia galli. The 16.67% prevalence of the nematode ova observed in this study is a reportable finding due to the significant health risk it poses to other wild and domestic birds. Thus weaver birds could serve as an important source of these gastrointestinal helminth spread to livestock along with the transmission of Histomonas meleagridis associated with the Heterakis gallinarum to susceptible birds.
Keywords: Village weaver birds, nematodes, Ibadan, Heterakis gallinarum, Ascaridia galli