• Parrots
  • Poultry
  • Birds of Prey
  • Pigeons
  • Passerine
  • Bird Accessories and feed
  • Game Birds
  • Wading birds
  • Sea Birds
  • Other birds
  • More
    All Categories
    • All Categories
    • Parrots
    • Poultry
    • Birds of Prey
    • Pigeons
    • Passerine
    • Bird Accessories and feed
    • Game Birds
    • Wading birds
    • Sea Birds
    • Other birds
    • Events
    • Services
    • Other Animals

    Bird disease that is killing greenfinches and chaffinches in the UK has now spread to Europe

    NewsBird NewsThursday 22 September 2011
    Share:
    Ecohealth Journal confirms that the disease has been found in Finland, Norway and Sweden and is at risk of moving further afield.

    The disease, called trichomonosis, is caused by a parasite and was first seen in finches in the UK in 2005.

    Since then, the country's greenfinches have declined by 35% and chaffinch populations have fallen by 7%.

    Becki Lawson, a wildlife veterinarian at the Zoological Society for London (ZSL) and lead author of the paper, said: "Trichomonosis has emerged as a very serious threat to these birds, so it is very important that vets and ornithologists collaborate to determine whether we might see further spread and to monitor the impact of the parasite on wild bird populations across Europe."

    The parasite that causes the disease, Trichomonas gallinae, has long been known in pigeons and doves, and scientists believe it somehow spread from these birds into finch populations.

    The study charts how the disease then moved from central and western counties in England and Wales towards eastern England in 2007, and then into Finland, Norway and Sweden (Fennoscandia) in 2008, as well as spreading further around the UK.

    Chaffinch (BTO)Researchers believe chaffinches may have spread the disease from Britain to Europe

    Molecular analysis has revealed that the same strain of the parasite was present in UK and European finches, and researchers now believe that migrating chaffinches were responsible for the spread.

    Dr Lawson explained: "It looks like chaffinches left the east of England in 2008, and that spring they went to the breeding ground in Fennoscandia and took the parasite with them, which is where the outbreak occurred."

    While greenfinches and chaffinches have been most badly hit, the disease has also been diagnosed in a number of other bird species, including the house sparrow and yellowhammer, both of which are already endangered.

    Source: BBC Science & Environment

    News
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    //