Spillover of avian haemosporidian parasites (Haemosporidia: Plasmodium) and death of captive psittacine species

J. K. Verwey, A. Peters, D Monks, S. R. Raidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Case report: During February 2014, a yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) and glossy black cockatoo (C. lathami) housed in aviaries on a property in Wamuran, Queensland, were submitted for postmortem. Histopathology and molecular diagnostics demonstrated the presence of Plasmodium sp. infection. The Plasmodium isolate identified has previously only been reported as infecting a healthy wild rufous fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) in Australia. Conclusion: To the authors’ knowledge, these are the first reported cases of Plasmodium in Calyptorhynchus. We hypothesised that the maintenance of these two cockatoo species in ground level aviaries in a low-altitude geographic zone resulted in exposure of birds to mosquito vectors of endemic avian Plasmodium. Black cockatoos roost and forage in the mid to high canopy of forests in the wild, outside the likely spatiotemporal distribution of relevant haemosporidian vectors. It is therefore likely that these birds had immunological naivety and susceptibility to infection with Plasmodium circulating in wild passerines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
Early online dateFeb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

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