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Avian Dis. 2003 Apr-Jun;47(2):506-12.

Chaunocephalus ferox in free-living white storks in central Spain.

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  • 1Centro de Estudios de Rapaces Ibéricas, 45671 Sevilleja de la Jara, Spain.


Ten out of 42 (23.8%) white storks (Ciconia ciconia) admitted to two rehabilitation centers in central Spain had lesions caused by the trematode Chaunocephalus ferox in the small intestinal wall. Fourteen of the examined birds were adults, five were subadults, and 23 were chicks of various ages. Parasitation was 32% (n = 8) in chicks and 13% (n = 2) in adult birds, whereas no juvenile bird was affected. Among dead birds, stork chicks affected by C. ferox lesions had a lower body weight (2196.1 g, SD = 814.2) than storks without lesions (2965.8 g, SD = 742.9, P < 0.05). Two chicks were additionally infected with Salmonella subspecies I serotype enteritidis 1,9,12: g, m:1, 7. Prevalence of the parasite in the examined birds was lower than in a population of Asian open-billed storks (Anastomus oscitans), in which it was pathogenic due to the destruction of the tunica muscularis and formation of large granulomatous lesions in the wall of the postduodenal portion of the small intestine. Pathogenic alterations caused by C. ferox are presumed to be related to numbers of adults present. Because storks admitted to rehabilitation centers suffer stress due to various reasons that may lower their immune response and exacerbate existing infections, the analysis of fecal sediments of white storks admitted for rehabilitation is recommended.

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