Hematological and parasitological health conditions of the Pale-breasted Thrush (Turdus leucomelas) (Passeriformes: Turdidae) in southeastern Brazil


Zoologia (Curitiba)




From an ecological point of view, parasites are considered important selective forces that influence all aspects of a host's life. The purpose of this study was to assess the health state of Turdus leucomelas Vieillot, 1818 (Turdidae: Passeriformes) inhabiting a Brazilian Cerrado in the breeding and molting seasons through a hematological parameter analysis and an evaluation of infection by blood parasites. The birds were collected with mist-nets, ringed and blood sampled to assess hematological parameters (hematocrit, hemoglobin concentration and white blood cells) and blood parasites. We detected blood parasites through optical microscopy and subsequently used PCR (amplification of the 18sRNA gene) to verify the presence of Plasmodium spp. (avian malaria). During the breeding season, the hemoglobin level and CHGM percentage were greater. Global leukocyte count was positively related to hemoglobin level, CHGM percentage and body weight. Of the total 31 T. leucomelas individuals examined, 18 presented Plasmodium parasites (58% of prevalence). There was a significant relationship between the presence of Plasmodium spp. and decreased CHGM. These results suggest a connection between the health parameters of wild birds and the physiological stress associated with the breeding season.

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