We examined 130 Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) representing two endemic subspecies and nine resident island populations on the Cape Verde archipelago between 1996 and 1999 to study diversity, prevalence, and intensity of hematozoa. Hematozoan diversity was very low; we detected only Plasmodium fallax, a species that is rarely found in Falconoformes, and, possibly, Haemoproteus brachiatus. Moreover, prevalence of Plasmodium fallax was low (1.5%) with a mean intensity of infection of 0.05 protozoa/10−3 erythrocytes. Only one bird (0.8%) was infected with a gametocyte that was most likely Haemoproteus brachiatus; the intensity in this infected bird was 1.5 protozoa/10−3 erythrocytes. A single parasite or two parasites were observed in blood smears in four additional birds, but identification to genus was not possible. This is the first record of blood parasites in birds on the Cape Verde Archipelago. The low prevalence of these parasites might be because of arid and less-favorable conditions for the pathogen's vectors. The sedentary nature and high level of isolation of the island kestrel populations are also factors that could decrease the probability of infection.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4