As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Hawaii bird develops tolerance for avian malaria

JANUARY 31, 2014

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Research by U.S. Geological Survey scientists shows a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper has developed a tolerance for avian malaria.

The agency said Thursday its researchers found Hawaii amakihi birds who live at lower elevations are able to tolerate infections much better than birds from higher elevations.

Their study was published this month in the journal EcoHealth.

Microbiologist Carter Atkinson and his colleagues captured birds from higher and lower elevations, put some in a control groups and exposed others to malaria. Lower elevation birds exposed to malaria lost less weight and had a lower mortality rate than birds from higher elevations.

Avian malaria has devastated many other species of Hawaiian honeycreepers. Mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases aren't native to Hawaii and native birds have no natural resistance to them.

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