The high rate of infestation of chewing lice (Phthiraptera) in Rock Pigeons (Columba livia Gmelin 1789) in Pakistan

S. Naz, S.A. Rizvi, O. Sychra


Sixty-eight feral Rock Pigeons (Columba livia intermedia Strickland 1844) and five wild Rock Pigeons (C. livia neglecta Hume 1873) were examined for chewing lice (Phthiraptera) in the Karachi Region of Pakistan. At least one species of chewing louse was found on every bird examined. Seven species of chewing lice were identified. Their overall prevalence and mean intensities (within parentheses) were: Colpocephalum turbinatum Danny 1842 (35.3%; 1437.1), Colpocephalum Nitzsch 1818 (7.35%; 5.4), Hohorstiella lata Piaget 1880 (51.4%; 230.1), H. streptopeliae Eichler 1953 (1.47%; 4), Campanulotes compar Burmeister 1838 (58.8%; 614.3), Columbicola columbae Linnaeus 1758 (70.5%; 467.4), C. tschulyschman Eichler 1942 (2.94%; 5). Only three species of lice, C. turbinatum, C. columbae and C. tschulyschman, were found on wild pigeons. Over 50% of pigeons examined were heavily infested (500-3007 lice per bird). Serious damage to the plumage and overall health of the birds is discussed. Feral pigeons parasitized with so many lice may pose a threat to racing pigeons in the Karachi Region.

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