Survey of Blood Parasites in Two Forest Owls, Northern Saw-Whet Owls and Flammulated Owls, of Western North America

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Except for a few studies in the eastern United States, little has been published on hemoparasites in owls. We surveyed the blood parasites of 108 Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) and 24 Flammulated Owls (Otus flammeolus) in Idaho during autumn migration in 1999 and 2000. We also surveyed 15 Flammulated Owls (FLOW) during breeding season in Utah from 2000. Leucocytozoon ziemanni, Haemoproteus syrnii, Haemoproteus noctuae,and Trypanosoma avium were identified. The overall prevalence of infection was 53% (78/147) and for the combined species, prevalences ofHaemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, and Trypanosoma species were 20%, 39%, and 4%, respectively. Northern Saw-whet Owls (NSWO) had an overall prevalence of 51% (55/108), with prevalences of 6%, 47%, and 4% by hemoparasite genus, respectively. Flammulated Owls had an overall prevalence of 59% (23/39), with prevalences of 56%, 18%, and 5% by genus, respectively. This study provides baseline hematozoa information for two boreal owl species.

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