Mycoplasmas are well-known avian pathogens of poultry and some passerines. Although reported in birds of prey, their role as pathogens is still unclear. Healthy, free-ranging raptor nestlings sampled during a routine ringing (banding) program, and birds of prey from rehabilitation centers, tested positive for Mycoplasma spp. by culture and a genus-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Given the lack of clinical signs and disease, we suggest that mycoplasmas in raptors may be commensal rather than pathogenic. Using immunobinding assay and species-specific PCR tests, Mycoplasma buteonis, M. falconis, and M. gypis were identified; M. falconis was only detected in falcons. Additionally, some isolates could not be identified. This is the first report of Mycoplasma spp. isolations from Western Marsh Harriers (Circus aeroginosus), a Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), and a Barn Owl (Tyto alba).
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Vol. 44 • No. 4