Hummingbirds are specialized nectarivores and important ecological pollinators that are the focus of conservation efforts as well as scientific investigations of metabolism and flight dynamics. Despite their importance, basic information is lacking about hummingbird blood cells. We aimed to establish reference intervals for total and differential leukocyte counts from healthy free-ranging hummingbirds in northern California. Hummingbirds were captured in four counties in spring and summer of 2012. A drop of blood was used to prepare smears for total white blood cell estimate and 200-cell differential leukocyte counts. Reference Value Advisor was used for descriptive statistics and calculation of reference intervals. Blood smears from 42 Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) and 33 Blackchinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri) were included. The only significant differences in leukocyte counts were due to age, and juvenile hummingbirds had significantly higher lymphocyte counts than adult hummingbirds (P<0.0001). These reference intervals provide robust baseline data to evaluate health status and disease in freeranging hummingbirds.
- Archilochus alexandri
- Calypte anna
- White blood cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics