Parasites have developed many strategies to ensure their development, multiplication, and dissemination, including the use of reservoir hosts that are often nondomesticated species. Despite drastic reductions in their populations, wild birds remain widespread worldwide and could constitute some of these reservoirs. We focused on the identification of wild bird species harboring parasite stages in their muscles. Breast muscles of 327 birds of 27 different species were collected at three different sites in France. After artificial digestion, isolated nematode larvae were identified by PCR sequencing or restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Toxocara cati was identified mainly in birds of prey. The presence of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies was investigated by modified agglutination test on muscle fluids. Anti-Toxoplasma antibodies were detected in 65 out of 166 samples from various bird species. Avifauna, particularly birds of prey, could help on the surveillance of parasite circulation and play a role as sentinel species.
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Vol. 58 • No. 2