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Ectoparasite load of blue-fronted parrot (Amazona aestiva, Psittacidae) nestlings

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2005
Authors:Berkunsky, I, Formoso, A, Aramburú, R
Journal:Ornitologia Neotropical
Pagination:573 - 578
Date Published:2005

Ectoparasites are an important cause of mortality, morbidity, and/or reduced fecundity in birds (Feare 1976, Duffy 1983). The negative effects on clutch size (Møller 1991, 1993), growth and survival of nestlings (Merino & Potti 1995, Hurtrez-Boussés et al. 1997), parental behavior (Hurtrez-Boussés et al. 1997, Hurtrez-Boussés & Renaud 2000), natal dispersal (Brown & Brown 1992), future breeding success and host’s survival (Brown et al. 1995, Richner & Tripet 1999) are known. These risks are increased in birds that breed in domed or cavity nests reused for several breeding seasons (Bucher 1988). Blue-fronted Parrots (Amazona aestiva) are common in Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina (Meyer de Schauensee 1970, Forshaw 1989, Collar 1997, Juniper & Parr 1998). In Argentina, they occur mostly in chacoan woodlands where they nest in cavities of mature trees, at approximately 5 m from the ground. (Sauad et al. 1991).Three chewing lice, Paragoniocotes heterogenitalis heterogenitalis Carriker, Paragoniocotes semicingulatus bolivianus Carriker (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera: Philopteridae), and Heteromenopon sp. (Phthiraptera: Amblycera: Menopodidae) has been cited as permanent parasites of Blue-fronted Parrots (Cicchino & Castro 1997a, 1997b). The Blue-fronted Parrot is an important resource for the inhabitants of the chacoan region, because they harvest parrot nestlings for pet trade (Beissinger & Bucher 1992). The substantial pressure on this species from both legal and illegal harvest justifies the development of a comprehensive research on its reproductive biology (Snyder et al. 2000, Fernandes-Seixas & de Miranda-Mourão 2002). Ectoparasitic load data of psittacids are known for the Burrowing Parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus) (Mey et al. 2002), and the Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) (Aramburú et al. 2003). The objective of this work was to describe the ectoparasitic fauna of the nest ling population of this parrot species, and to determine the prevalence, abundance, and degree of dispersion of such species.

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