Ectoparasites, uropygial glands and hatching success in birds

  title={Ectoparasites, uropygial glands and hatching success in birds},
  author={Anders Pape M{\o}ller and Johannes Erritz{\o}e and Lajos R{\'o}zsa},
The uropygial gland of birds secretes wax that is applied to the plumage, where the secretions are hypothesized to eliminate fungi and bacteria, thereby potentially providing important benefits in terms of plumage maintenance. We analyzed variation in size of the uropygial gland in 212 species of birds to determine the function and the ecological correlates of variation in gland size. Bird species with larger uropygial glands had more genera of chewing lice of the sub-order Amblycera, but not… 

Predators and microorganisms of prey: goshawks prefer prey with small uropygial glands

Estimating the susceptibility of 56 species of prey of the goshawk Accipiter gentilis Linnaeus to predation as the observed abundance of prey relative to the expected abundance from mean population density found a strong negative relationship accounting for 16% of the variance.

The evolution of size of the uropygial gland: mutualistic feather mites and uropygial secretion reduce bacterial loads of eggshells and hatching failures of European birds

The size of the uropygial gland was positively related to eggshell bacterial loads, and bird species with higher diversity and abundance of feather mites harboured lower bacterial density on their eggshells (Enterococcus and Staphylococcus), in accordance with the hypothesis.

Do secretions from the uropygial gland of birds attract biting midges and black flies?

The results did not support a potential role of avian uropygial gland secretions in attracting biting midges and black flies and suggested that bird susceptibility to attacks by blood-sucking flying insects could be influenced by urogypial glandSecretions.

The uropygial gland microbiome of house sparrows with malaria infection

The first results of the Uropygial gland microbiome in malaria-infected birds illustrate the presence of a more specific relationship between certain members of the gland microbiota and Plasmodium parasites in birds, which opens up new questions on the role of the uropygia gland in avian health.

Special structures of hoopoe eggshells enhance the adhesion of symbiont-carrying uropygial secretion that increase hatching success.

The findings of specialized crypts on the eggshells of hoopoes, and of video-recorded females smearing secretion containing symbiotic bacteria at a high density onto the eggShells strongly support a link between secretion and bacteria on eggs.

Uropygial gland volume and malaria infection are related to survival in migratory house martins

It is shown, for the first time, that the volume of the uropygial gland positively predicted survival prospects of malaria infected house martins, and the effect of gland size on survival prospects depending on infection.

Feather-degrading bacteria, uropygial gland size and feather quality in House Sparrows Passer domesticus

Feathers are dead integumentary structures that are prone to damage and thus show gradual degradation over the course of a year. This loss of quality might have negative fi tness consequences.

Embryogenesis of the Uropygial Glands in the Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis (Rothschild, 1893): Procellariiformes)

The purpose of this study was to examine the development of this gland in a series of Laysan Albatross embryos, finding that grooves preceded glandular development by many stages.

Great Tit (Parus major) Uropygial Gland Microbiomes and Their Potential Defensive Roles

It is found that uropygial gland bacterial isolates belonging to the genera Bacillus and Kocuria were able to suppress the growth of four of the nine tested antagonists, attesting to potential defensive roles and that bacterial symbionts might act as defensive microbes.




The physiological role of the uropygial gland is still controversial, and it could be hypothesized that the degree of this gland's develop- ment should be greater in aquatic birds than in terrestrial species.

Feather mites and birds: an interaction mediated by uropygial gland size?

There is a positive correlation between the size of this gland and mite abundance in passerine birds at an interspecific level during the breeding season, suggesting that the gland mediates interactions between mites and birds.

Feather mites (Acari: Astigmata): ecology, behavior, and evolution.

Because transmission between hosts usually depends on host body contact, it is unsurprising that feather mite phylogeny often parallels host phylogeny; however, recent cladistic analyses have also found evidence of host-jumping and "missing the boat" in several mite lineages.

The chemical composition of the uropygial gland secretion of rock dove Columba livia.


  • J. HacksteinT. A. Alen
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1996
Competence for intestinal methanogenic bacteria is a plesiomorphic (primitive‐shared) character among reptiles, birds, and mammals, and this competence has been crucial for the evolution of the amniotes.

Genetic and evolutionary constraints for the symbiosis between animals and methanogenic bacteria

In arthropods and vertebrates the presence of methanogenic bacteria requires a quality of the host that is under phylogenetic rather than dietary constraint, which will allow new approaches for the reduction of methane emission by domestic animals.

The Feather Holes on the Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica and Other Small Passerines are Probably Caused by Brueelia Spp. Lice

Abstract Barn swallows Hirundo rustica often have characteristic feather holes on wing and tail feathers. During the past 15 yr, several influential papers have been based on the assumption that

Diversity begets diversity: host expansions and the diversification of plant-feeding insects

It is concluded that resource diversity is correlated with species richness in the Nymphalidae and suggested a scenario based on recurring oscillations between host expansions – the incorporation of new plants into the repertoire – and specialization, as an important driving force behind the diversification of plant-feeding insects.

Fitness consequences of variation in natural antibodies and complement in the Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Two aspects of humoral immunity in a population of Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica, natural antibodies and complement that constitute the first line of defence against parasites are quantified, finding that in females, natural antibody and complement levels are important predictors of vital rates.