Between 1982 and 1986, 402 (290 live, 112 dead) exotic, migrant or native resident birds on Guam were surveyed for disease-causing agents to determine the role of disease in the decline of native forest bird populations on Guam. Traumatic injury, primarily from collisions with motor vehicles and predation, was the most prevalent (46%) cause of death. Thirty-eight percent of the carcasses examined were in poor body condition largely as a result of inadequate nutrition in captive native birds and poultry and adipose exhaustion in errant migrants. A variety of commensal or opportunistic bacteria, including Salmonella spp., were cultured from 220 birds, and nothing remarkable was found in 15 fecal samples. Lastly, no haematozoans, the suspected cause for the decline of the Hawaiian avifauna, were observed in blood slides examined from 260 birds. Based on the results of the survey and other lines of evidence presented in the discussion, we concluded there were no data implicating disease in the decline of Guam's avifauna.
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Was disease involved in the decimation of Guam's avifauna?