Hummingbird health: Pathogens and disease conditions in the family Trochilidae

Loreto A. Godoy, Lisa A Tell, Holly B Ernest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The hummingbird family (Trochilidae) is species rich; however the effects of infectious agents and diseases on these birds have received little attention. We compiled and summarized published findings describing disease conditions in hummingbirds in order to provide a comprehensive overview of existing data to assist management and conservation of captive and free-ranging hummingbird populations. Few pathogens and disease syndromes have been described. There is a lack of information on clinical signs, pathology and epidemiology and their variation across species for most disease syndromes. Consequently, there is not enough information to determine the impact of diseases in hummingbird populations, including those of conservation concern. Several physiological, behavioral and ecological characteristics render hummingbirds as an interesting species for the study of wildlife disease ecology. Additionally, feeding ecology with prodigious diets of insects and nectar support consideration as "environmental samplers"; hummingbirds will serve as potential sentinels for assessing the environmental impacts of pollutants and pesticides. We conclude that further studies are needed to better understand the role of diseases in hummingbird fitness and survival. In this sense, hummingbird health monitoring programs are fundamental to securing scientific information on normal and abnormal health parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Ornithology
Volume155
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Fingerprint

Trochilidae
hummingbirds
pathogens
wildlife diseases
ecology
samplers
nectar
infectious diseases
epidemiology
environmental impact
pesticides
pollutants
insects

Keywords

  • Bacteria
  • Diseases
  • Fungi
  • Health
  • Helminths
  • Hummingbirds
  • Infection
  • Trochilidae
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Hummingbird health : Pathogens and disease conditions in the family Trochilidae. / Godoy, Loreto A.; Tell, Lisa A; Ernest, Holly B.

In: Journal of Ornithology, Vol. 155, No. 1, 01.2014, p. 1-12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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