Parasites and associated packed cell volume changes of captive wild birds in the semi-arid region of north-eastern Nigeria

  • A W Mbaya
  • C O Nwosu
  • M M Aliyu


The prevalence of parasites and associated packed cell volume (PCV) changes were investigated in captive wild birds maintained in the semi-arid region of north-eastern Nigeria. The results revealed that out of the 126 captive wild birds examined during the period, 98 (77.8%) were infected with at least one parasite species. Arthropod parasites were encountered in 63 (34.1%) birds and the parasites recovered were Echidnophaga gallinacea (27.0%), Argas persicus (18.2%) and Ctnemidocoptes mutans (4.8%). The parasites generally occurred in low numbers. Haemoparasites were recorded in 42 (33.3%) birds and these included Plasmodium (15.9%), Haemoproteus (9.5%) and Leucocytozoon (7.9%) species. The percentage parasitization of the erythrocyte with haemoparasites was generally high (40-90%) and the infected birds had significantly (p<0.05) lower PCV than their uninfected counterparts. Faecal examination revealed intestinal parasites in 43 (34.1%) of the birds. Eimeria oocysts (19.8%) were the most prevalent followed respectively by strongyle (7.9%), Ascaridia galli (4.8%) and Raillietina (1.6%) eggs. Egg and oocyst counts were generally low. Necropsy of some dead birds during the period revealed the adult stages of Ascaridia galli in the ground horned bill, cattle egret and the crowned crane; Libyostrongylus douglassi in the ostrich and Raillientina echinobothridia in the white stork. Leucocytozoon species are reported for the first time in birds in Nigeria. The presence of this parasite in the study area could be of some epidemiological implications since they are usually known to occur in temperate regions. Their presence in the study area was associated with the annual migration of wild birds between the study area and temperate Europe and Asia.

Keywords: parasites, packed cell volume, wild birds, Nigeria.

Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 28 (2) 2007: pp. 109-113

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eISSN: 1117-4145