Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 3517–3523 | Cite as

Using DNA barcodes to identify a bird involved in a birdstrike at a Chinese airport

  • Rong Yang
  • Xiaobing WuEmail author
  • Peng Yan
  • Xiaoqiang Li


One day at dusk in August, 200X, an airplane was struck by a bird at a Chinese airport (M Airport). After a careful check, some blades of the plane’s engine were found to be out of shape and a few feathers and some bloodstains were found in the air intake of the engine. In order to know which species of bird was involved in the birdstrike, firstly we extracted DNA from the bloodstains; secondly, the DNA barcode (portion of COI gene) of the unknown species was amplified by PCR method; thirdly, sequence divergences (K2P differences) of the DNA barcode between the unknown species and a library of 59 common bird species distributed at the airport area were analyzed. Furthermore, a neighbor-joining (NJ) tree based on COI barcodes was created to provide graphic representation of sequence divergences among the species to confirm the identification. The result showed that red-rumped swallow (Hirundo daurica) was involved in the birdstrike incident. Some suggestions to avoid birdstrikes caused by red-rumped swallows were given to the administrative department of M Airport to ensure flying safety.


Birdstrike Bird remains identification COI DNA barcode 



This work was financially supported by the Fund for Leading Scientists of Science and Technology in Anhui Province and fund from the Provincial Key Laboratory of Biotic Environment and Ecological Safety in Anhui Province. We are grateful to the reviewers, Charles and Hilary Duncan for their advice on writing this paper. Thanks to Dr. Hongbin Li for kindly checking for relevant literatures for our study.


  1. 1.
    Blokpoel H (1976) Bird hazards to aircraft. Irwin Clark, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sodhi NS (2002) Competition in the air: birds versus aircraft. Auk 119:587–597. doi: 10.1642/0004-8038(2002)119[0587:CITABV]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cleary EC, Dolbeer RA (2005) Wildlife hazard management at airports, a manual for airport operators, 2nd edn. Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Airport Safety and Standards, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Huo ZQ, Luo F (2006) Statistic analysis on accidents and incidents in the last decade in China civil aviation. China Saf Sci J 16(12):65–71Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Doran HJ, Cross TF, Kelly TC (1990) Electrophoretic identification of bird species involved in collisions with aircrafts. Comp Biochem Physiol 97:171–175. doi: 10.1016/0305-0491(90)90197-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dove CJ (2000) A descriptive and phylogenetic analysis of plumulaceous feather characters in Charadriiformes. Ornithol Monogr 51:1–163Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hebert PDN, Stoeckle MY, Zemlak TS, Francis CM (2004) Identification of birds through DNA barcodes. PLoS Biol 2:1657–1663. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020312 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kerr KCR, Stoeckle M, Dove CJ, Weigt L, Francis CM, Hebert PDN (2007) Comprehensive DNA barcode coverage of North American birds. Mol Ecol Notes 7:535–543. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01670.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dove CJ, Rotzel NC, Heacker M, Weigt LA (2008) Using DNA barcodes to identify bird species involved in birdstrikes. J Wildl Manage 72:1231–1236. doi: 10.2193/2007-272 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mackinnon B, Sowden R, Dudley S (2001) Sharing the skies: an aviation guide to the management of wildlife hazards. Aviation Publishing Division, Transport Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sambrook J, Russel DW (2001) Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual, 3rd edn. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring HarborGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Thompson JD, Gibson TJ, Plewniak F, Jeanmougin F, Higgins DG (1997) The ClustalX windows interface: flexible strategies for multiple sequence alignment aided by quality analysis tools. Nucleic Acids Res 24:4876–4882. doi: 10.1093/nar/25.24.4876 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kimura M (1980) A simple method for estimating evolutionary rate of base substitutions through comparative studies of nucleotide sequences. J Mol Evol 16:111–120. doi: 10.1007/BF01731581 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kumar S, Tamura K, Nei M (2004) MEGA3: integrated software for molecular evolutionary genetics analysis and sequence alignment. Brief Bioinform 5:150–163. doi: 10.1093/bib/5.2.150 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Swofford DL (2002) PAUP*: phylogenetic analysis using parsmony (* and other methods), version 4.0b4a. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dove CJ (1997) Quantification of microscopic feather characters used in the identification of North American Plovers. Condor 99:47–57. doi: 10.2307/1370223 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ouellet H (1994) Keratin protein electrophoresis and the identification of feather remains: new developments and update. Proc Bird Strike Comm Eur 22:499–512Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hermans J, Buurma LS, Wattel J (1996) Identification of bird remains after bird-airplane collisions, based on DNA sequence analysis. Proc Bird Strike Comm Eur 23:203–207Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Moore WS (1995) Inferring phylogenies from mtDNA variation: Mitochondrial-gene trees versus nuclear-gene trees. Evolution 49:718–726. doi: 10.2307/2410325 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hebert PDN, Cywinska A, Ball SL, deWaard JR (2003) Biological identifications through DNA barcodes. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 270:313–321. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2002.2218 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zheng GM (2005) A checklist on the classification and distribution of the birds of China. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sibley CG, Monroe BL Jr (1990) Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rong Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaobing Wu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peng Yan
    • 1
  • Xiaoqiang Li
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Life SciencesAnhui Normal UniversityWuhuChina
  2. 2.Air Force Airfield Service Technology InstituteBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations