Effect of preen oil on plumage bacteria: An experimental test with the mallard

  title={Effect of preen oil on plumage bacteria: An experimental test with the mallard},
  author={Mathieu Giraudeau and G{\'a}bor {\'A}rp{\'a}d Czirj{\'a}k and Camille Duval and Vincent Bretagnolle and C. Gutierrez and No{\"e}l Guillon and Philipp Heeb},
  journal={Behavioural Processes},
Experimental study of the effect of preen oil against feather bacteria in passerine birds
This is the first study providing experimental evidence that preen oil represents an important antimicrobial mechanism against those plumage bacteria that are attached to feathers.
Preen gland removal increases plumage bacterial load but not that of feather-degrading bacteria
It is found that preen gland removal led to higher loads of OCB, which suggests that the antimicrobial spectrum of the preen oil is broader than previously thought and that, by reducing the overall feather bacterial loads, thePreen gland could help birds to protect themselves against a variety of potentially harmful bacteria.
Manipulation of parental effort affects plumage bacterial load in a wild passerine
It has been suggested that plumage microorganisms play an important role in shaping the life histories of wild birds. Some bacteria may act as pathogens or cause damage to feathers, and thereby
Preen oil and bird fitness: a critical review of the evidence
  • G. Moreno-Rueda
  • Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2017
The uropygial gland appears to have several non‐mutually exclusive functions in birds, and thus is likely to be subject to several selective pressures, and future studies should consider how the inevitable trade‐offs among different functions drive the evolution of uropyGial gland secretions.
Plumage micro-organisms and preen gland size in an urbanizing context.
Uropygial gland size and composition varies according to experimentally modified microbiome in Great tits
This study provides the first experimental evidence for modifications of investment in the defensive trait that is the uropygial gland in response to environmental microorganisms in a wild bird.
Do feather-degrading bacteria actually degrade feather colour? No significant effects of plumage microbiome modifications on feather colouration in wild great tits
It is found that differences in bacterial exposure during nesting did not significantly affect the colouration of newly moulted feathers, suggesting that significant feather degradation obtained during in vitro studies could have led to an overestimation of the potential of keratinolytic microorganisms to shape feather colouration in free-living birds.
The effect of uropygial gland secretions of Spectacled Thrushes (Turdus nudigenis) on feather degradation and bacterial growth in vitro
The results support that uropygial secretion of Spectacled Thrushes retarded feather degradation not through a chemical effect, but possibly by alternative mechanisms such as the formation of a physical barrier that isolated feather-degrading bacteria from feathers.
Sources of variation in uropygial gland size in European birds
The results show that the role of the uropygial gland dynamically varies during the annual cycle, potentially in response to seasonal variation in parasitic infection risk, and aquatic environments may promote the production of gland oil.
Chemical regulation of body feather microbiota in a wild bird
Evidence that chemicals produced by the host might function as a nonspecific broad‐spectrum antimicrobial defence mechanism limiting colonization and/or maintenance of bacteria on body feathers is provided, providing new insight about the drivers of the host's microbiota composition in wild organisms.


No detected effect of moult on feather bacterial loads in mallards Anas platyrhynchos
It is found that moult had no significant effect on total cultivable and feather-degrading bacterial loads on feathers, and the bacterial contamination that takes place after moult overrides the potential role of moult as a mechanism to reduce feather bacterial loads.
The results are the first rigorous demonstration that preen oil is important for plumage condition in nonwaterfowl and that it has insecticidal properties and that reduction in plumages condition on birds without glands is due to an increase in ectoparasites.
Effects of access to preen gland secretions on mallard plumage
It is shown that preen oil acts to maintain plumage condition and suggests that feather microstructure is essential to maintain feathers waterproofness, and shows that plumage waterproofness is mostly due to the spatial micro-structure of feathers.
Symbiotic bacteria living in the hoopoe's uropygial gland prevent feather degradation
The results suggest that by preening their feathers hoopoes benefit from their symbiotic relationship with bacteriocin-producing enterococci, which constitute a chemical defence against feather degradation.
Chemical warfare? Effects of uropygial oil on feather‐degrading bacteria
Results suggest that birds may defend themselves against some feather-degrading bacteria using uropygial oil, which appears to enhance the growth of one weakly feather- Degrading isolate.
Feather micro‐organisms and uropygial antimicrobial defences in a colonial passerine bird
It is suggested that the uropygial gland plays a specific role in regulating the abundance of feather-degrading bacteria that furthermore depends on the social environment of the host.
Seasonally Changing Preen-Wax Composition: Red Knots' (Calidris Canutus) Flexible Defense Against Feather-Degrading Bacteria
It is suggested that preen waxes protect feathers by forming a physical barrier to microbes rather than through chemical properties of the waxes.
Bacteria as an Agent for Change in Structural Plumage Color: Correlational and Experimental Evidence
It is found that keratinolytic bacteria increased the brightness and purity, decreased the ultraviolet chroma, and did not affect the hue of structural color, suggesting that bacteria can alter structural plumage color through degradation.
Do feather-degrading bacteria affect sexually selected plumage color?
It is found that males with the redder plumage preferred by females had similar overall bacterial loads, but lower feather-degradingacterial loads, than males with less red plumage, which suggests that plumage color can signal abundance of feather- degrading bacteria to potential mates.
Feather-Degrading Bacteria: A New Frontier in Avian and Host–Parasite Research?
Birds are important models for the study of host–parasite interactions (Loye and Zuk 1991, Clayton and Moore 1997). Much of this research has focused on arthropod ectoparasites that feed on feathers