Haemosporidians from a Neglected Group of Terrestrial Wild Birds in the Peruvian Amazonia

Merit González-Olvera, Arturo Hernandez-Colina, Jocelyn G. Pérez, Gabriela M. Ulloa, Stephanie Montero, Jorge L. Maguiña, Andrés G. Lescano, Meddly L. Santolalla, Matthew Baylis, Pedro Mayor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Haemosporidians are a widespread group of blood parasites transmitted by vectors. Despite their relevance for bird conservation, few studies have been conducted in the Amazonia and even less in terrestrial wild birds. We analysed blood samples from 168 game birds, collected from 2008 to 2015 by subsistence hunters of an indigenous rural community in the Peruvian Amazonia. DNA was tested for Haemoproteus spp., Plasmodium spp. and Leucocytozoon spp. and positive amplicons were sequenced and curated for phylogenetic analysis. Haemosporidian prevalence was 72% overall, 66.7% for Haemoproteus spp. and 5.4% for Plasmodium spp. and respectively by bird species: Spix’s Guan (Penelope jacquacu,n = 72) 87.5% and 0%, Razor-billed Curassow (Mitu tuberosum,n = 45) 77.8% and 6.7%, White-winged Trumpeter (Psophia leucoptera,n = 20) 6.3% and 12.5%, Blue-throated Piping-guan (Pipile cumanensis,n = 16) 73.3% and 6.7%, and Great Tinamou (Tinamus major,n = 15) 10% and 15%. Leucocytozoon spp. was not found. P. leucoptera and T. major were less likely to be infected with Haemoproteus spp. Fruit abundance had a negative association with Haemoproteus spp. prevalence and precipitation was negatively associated with Plasmodium spp. prevalence. The 106 sequences examined represented 29 lineages, 82.8% of them were new lineages (Plasmodiumn = 3, Haemoproteusn = 21). Novel host-parasite associations and lineages were unveiled, including probably new species of Plasmodium spp. Our results highlight the scientific value of alternative sampling methods and the collaboration with local communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-416
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Amazonia
  • Haemoproteus
  • Haemosporidia
  • Plasmodium
  • Subsistence hunting
  • Terrestrial birds


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