Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 74–78 | Cite as

Prevalence and intensity of excretion of coccidial oocysts in migrating passerines on Helgoland

  • Axel ZinkeEmail author
  • Bärbel Schnebel
  • Volker Dierschke
  • Martin Ryll
Original Article


Prevalence and intensity of excretion of coccidial oocysts in actively migrating passerines (Turdus philomelos, Fringilla coelebs, Sylvia borin, Phoenicurus phoenicurus) were assessed in spring and autumn 2001 during stopovers on Helgoland. All examined species showed low prevalences of oocysts in spring (28–33%) and high prevalences in autumn migration (66–92%). In autumn, there are significant species-specific differences in prevalence and, partially, in intensity of excretion. Ground-feeding Chaffinches most commonly and most intensively shed oocysts (maximal 2,7×106 oocysts per g fresh faeces) indicating that feeding style may influence the parasite load. No significant correlation between parasite load, age, and body condition (fat depots, breast muscle shape, body mass) was found. The connection between feeding style, age, migration, immunocompetence, and survival of passerine hosts on one hand and the particularities of coccidial pathogenicity on the other are discussed.


Coccidia Isospora Passeriformes Migration Helgoland 



Bird trapping on Helgoland was done by Thomas Bleifuss with the help of numerous volunteers. Stephan Selbach and Indra Ottich helped with the handling of birds separated for the examination of parasites. We are also grateful to O. Dolnik for reading the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Zinke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bärbel Schnebel
    • 1
  • Volker Dierschke
    • 2
  • Martin Ryll
    • 1
  1. 1.Klinik für Zier- und Wildvögel (Klinik für Geflügel)Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover30173 HannoverGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Vogelforschung “Vogelwarte Helgoland”Inselstation Helgoland27494 HelgolandGermany

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