The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of transmission of Mycoplasma spp. from quarry to hunting falcons in the Middle East. Groups of 17 houbara bustards (Chlamydotis undulata) and 29 stone curlews (Burhinus oedicnemus) kept at three different private collections in Dubai were evaluated for the presence of Mycoplasma. Additionally, 10 falcons used for hunting were investigated for comparison. The falcons showed no clinical signs and were examined within the scope of a routine health check. From all birds, conjunctival and choanal swabs were taken and analyzed via polymerase chain reaction and culture. Although mycoplasmas were not recovered from choanal and conjunctival swabs taken from the houbara bustards, Mycoplasma gypis and M. falconis were isolated from the majority (28/29; 97%) of the stone curlews from choanal and conjunctival swabs. Most of the birds had no associated pathologic findings. Mycoplasma falconis was also detected in samples collected from 2 of the 10 falcons, and M. buteonis was isolated from the majority of falcons (6/10 falcons) from choanal (n = 5) and conjunctival (n = 1) swabs. Mycoplasma gypis could also be isolated from tissue samples (liver, oviduct, syrinx) of one dead stone curlew. This study presents the first isolation of mycoplasmas from stone curlews.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2