Investigations of the tick burden on passeriform, water-associated and predatory birds reveal new tick–host associations and habitat-related factors of tick infestation

Pitó, Andor and Ádámné Bukor, Boglárka and Győrig, Előd and Brlík, Vojtěch and Kontschán, Jenő and Keve, Gergő and Takács, Nóra and Hornok, Sándor (2024) Investigations of the tick burden on passeriform, water-associated and predatory birds reveal new tick–host associations and habitat-related factors of tick infestation. PARASITES AND VECTORS, 17 (1). No-144. ISSN 1756-3305

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview


Background Previous studies on the tick infestation of birds in the Carpathian Basin focused on songbirds (Passeri- formes). Thus, the primary aim of the present work was to extend the scope of previous studies, i.e. to include aquatic (water-associated) bird species in a similar context, especially considering that these birds are usually long-distance migrants. Methods Between March 2021 and August 2023, 11,919 birds representing 126 species were checked for the pres- ence of ticks. From 352 birds belonging to 40 species, 905 ixodid ticks were collected. Tick species were identified morphologically and/or molecularly. Results Ticks from avian hosts belonged to seven species: Ixodes ricinus (n = 448), I. frontalis (n = 31), I. festai (n = 2), I. arboricola (n = 36), I. lividus (n = 4), Haemaphysalis concinna (n = 382) and Dermacentor reticulatus (n = 2). Nymphs of I. ricinus occurred with a single activity peak around March–May, whereas its larvae typically infested birds in May, June or July. By contrast, H. concinna usually had its activity maximum during the summer (nymphs in June–July, larvae later in July–August). Interestingly, two ornithophilic species, I. frontalis and I. arboricola, were most active around winter months (between October and April). A significantly lower ratio of aquatic birds was found tick-infested than songbirds. Several new tick–host associations were revealed, including I. ricinus from Greylag Goose (Anser anser) and D. reticulatus from Great Egret (Ardea alba) and Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus). Ticks were collected for the first time in Europe from two species of predatory birds as well as from Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus). Bird species typically inhabiting reedbeds were most frequently infested with H. concinna, and most ticks localized at their throat, as opposed to forest-dwelling avian hosts, on which I. ricinus predominated and ticks were more evenly distributed. Conclusions In the evaluated region, aquatic birds appear to be less important in tick dispersal than songbirds. How- ever, newly revealed tick-host associations in this category attest to their hitherto neglected contribution. The results suggest that the habitat type will have significant impact not only on the species composition but also on the feed- ing location of ticks on birds.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ixodidae, Passeriformes, Accipitriformes, Pelecaniformes
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QL Zoology / állattan
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2024 12:33
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2024 12:33

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item