Objective: The main objectives of the present study were to investigate the rock pigeon parasitic communities from Iraq as well as reporting on the prevalence and intensity of various infections from both sexes.
Methods: An examination of 128 specimens of the live rock pigeon Columba livia from Iraq was undertaken. The samples were obtained from several localities of Iraq. Blood samples were examined for haemoprotozoa, carcasses were investigated for the ectoparasites throughout their body skins and feathers, and the alimentary canal was examined for protozoans and helminths.
Results: Twenty-seven species of parasites were identified. They comprised 1 Fungi, Candida sp.; 4 Protozoa, Eimeria labbeana, Trichomonas gallinae, Haemoproteus columbae and Plasmodium sp.; 8 Cestoda, 4 of each of the genera Cotugnia and Raillietina; 4 Nematoda, Ascaridia columbae, A. galli, Capillaria obsignata and Synhimantus spiralis; and 10 Arthropoda, the commonest of which were the wing and tail feather louse Columbicola sp. and the pigeon louse fly Pseudolinchia canariensis. Infection indices are provided for each species and in respect to both sexes of the host.
Conclusion: The issue of zoonosis is raised, so is the role of the rock pigeons in acting as a reservoir and spreading some of the disease agents associated with other avian populations including poultry. Seven of the species are newly introduced to the parasitological list of Iraq and for this country the rock pigeon is a new host record for another 9 of the endoparasites that were diagnosed.
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