Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.21(2). (2013) p.33-37.

Louse (Insecta: Phthiraptera) infestations of European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster Linnaeus, 1758) at Albertirsa, Hungary
Kata Karáth, Tibor István Fuisz, Zoltán Vas

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Colonial breeding birds such as the European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster), are perfectly suited for ectoparasitological studies, as their elaborate social life and frequent body-to-body contacts induce high prevalence of louse (Phthiraptera) infestations. In this study we investigated a large breeding colony at Albertirsa, Hungary, and measured the louse burden of the breeding population. With more than 200 pairs nesting in the loess wall there, it may be Hungary’s largest colony of European Bee-eaters. We sampled breeding birds and compared their louse burdens between age groups and sexes. We report the prevalence, mean and median intensity of infestations of the three louse species harboured by the Bee-eaters, and the results of louse burden comparisons between age groups and sexes.