Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) is a recognised key threat for the conservation of parrots globally, causing morbidity and mortality of individuals in susceptible species. We present findings from a survey in 2012 to investigate the presence of BFDV in wild New Caledonian parrots, including the endangered Ouvea Parakeet (Eunymphicus uvaeensis). Blood and feather samples from seven Ouvea Parakeets and 13 New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus deplanchii), and feathers from 15 New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets, five Horned Parakeets (Eunymphicus cornutus) and six New Caledonian Parakeets (Cyanoramphus saisseti) obtained from passive sampling, were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for BFDV. We identified a BFDV prevalence of 25% (95% CI 11-45%) in wild New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets, suggesting this species may act as a reservoir for persistence of BFDV in the wild, placing other parrots in New Caledonia at risk. All other parrot species tested negative for BFDV. New Caledonian Rainbow Lorikeets were introduced to Ouvéa Island in the 1970s, potentially bringing BFDV with them. As Ouvea Parakeets are restricted to this small island, we strongly recommend surveillance screening for BFDV in this species to guide future biosecurity and conservation efforts, and further understand the risk posed by BFDV to threatened parrots.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation