Using lice to identify cowbird hosts

Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America

80th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America on the Transdisciplinary Nature of Ecology, Snowbird, Utah, USA, July 30-August 3, 1995.
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Avian lice may link fledgling Brown-headed Cowbirds to the host species that raised them. Lice, if host-specific and transferred to nestling cowbirds, could serve to identify the principal host species raising cowbirds in a local area. This approach of trapping cowbird fledglings in a feeding flock, then collecting and identifying the lice they carry is economical. The alternative requires a team of people to locate large numbers of parasitized host nests. We trapped 250 cowbird fledglings during June-August 1994 on Patuxent Research Center, and from them we collected 426 lice identified as representing 6 genera and 12 species. We. also collected and identified 347 lice from 30 known host species that were mist-netted on our Center. The lice found on cowbird fledglings in this population can be linked to Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Rufous-sided Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Song Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Tree sparrow, based on this study and also on published reports.

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Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Using lice to identify cowbird hosts
Series title:
Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America
2 Suppl. Part 2
Year Published:
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
106 (abstract)
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Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America
First page:
106 (abs)