Hitherto, virtually nothing is known about the microbial communities related to the bird species in the family Corvidae. To fill this gap, the present study was conducted to provide a baseline description of the gut microbiota of wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). In this study, microbiota from four gastrointestinal locations (oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine) of three wild red-billed choughs were analyzed using the Illumina MiSeq sequencing platform by targeting the V4–V5 regions of the 16S rRNA genes. The gut microbiota of the red-billed choughs were dominated by the phylum Firmicutes (59.56%), followed by Proteobacteria (16.56%), Bacteroidetes (13.86%), and Actinobacteria (7.03%), which were commonly detected in avian gut ecosystems. Genus-level compositions were found to be largely dominated by Lactobacillus (18.21%), Weissella (12.37%), Erysipelatoclostridium (6.94%), Bacteroides (6.63%), Escherichia-Shigella (5.15%), Leuconostoc (4.60%), Proteus (3.33%), Carnobacterium (2.71%), Lactococcus (1.69%), and Enterococcus (1.63%). The overall intestinal microbiota was enriched with functions related to ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, DNA repair and recombination proteins, purine metabolism, ribosome, transcription factors, pyrimidine metabolism, peptidases, and two-component system. In terms of four different gastrointestinal locations, hierarchical clustering analysis and principal coordinate analysis showed that microbial communities of the oropharynx, gizzard, small intestine, and large intestine formed four separated clusters. A total of 825 OTUs and 382 genera were detected in all four gastrointestinal locations, which were considered as the major microbes in the intestines of red-billed choughs. Coexistence of lactic acid bacteria and potential pathogens in the gut environments of red-billed choughs required further investigations.
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The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to the editor in chief, editor, and anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions in revising the manuscript. Many thanks to Doctor Ian Mather for his kind help in revising the English in this manuscript.
The study was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Qinghai Province of China (Grant No. 2018-ZJ-932Q), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31701573 and 31460569), the Project of Qinghai Science & Technology Department (Grant No. 2016-ZJ-Y01), the Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Plateau Ecology and Agriculture, Qinghai University (Grant No. 2017-ZZ-21), and the project of Tao He Yuan National Wetland Park in Qinghai Province (Grant No. 2018-THY-02).
This study conformed to the guidelines for the care and use of experimental animals established by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (Approval number: 2006-398). The research protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ethical Committee of Qinghai University.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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Wang, W., Wang, A., Yang, Y. et al. Composition, diversity and function of gastrointestinal microbiota in wild red-billed choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). Int Microbiol 22, 491–500 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10123-019-00076-2
- Red-billed choughs
- Gut microbiome
- llumina Miseq platform;16S rRNA gene sequencing
- Microbial communities
- Gastrointestinal tract