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Keywords:

  • breeding success;
  • Capillaria;
  • captivity;
  • Coccidia;
  • coproscopic examination;
  • faecal samples;
  • infestation;
  • Paradisaeidae;
  • Raillietina;
  • tapeworms

We evaluated results of over 4400 documented faecal parasitological examinations between 2000 and 2007 in more than 90 individuals of six species of birds of paradise (BoP). Between 2000 and 2007, 83·2% of investigated samples were negative for parasites, and the number of negative samples increased consistently over the years; in positive samples, the proportion of Capillaria sp decreased (from 100 to 4·8%) and that of Coccidia sp increased (from 0 to 67·5%). Differences in the prevalence of endoparasites between species, epidemiological units (houses) and sexes were found. The Twelve-wired bird-of-paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca, which has the highest reported proportion of insects in its natural diet, had the highest prevalence of tapeworms, indicating a high propensity to ingest intermediate hosts. Coccidia sp were particularly prevalent in an epidemiological unit with high exposure to free-ranging birds. The number of offspring per female and year correlated with the percentage of negative samples taken in the according year and species. The results indicate that (1) consistent antiparasitic management leads to a reduction of parasite species, (2) parasites with intermediate hosts are more difficult to control, (3) exposure to free-ranging birds should be minimized and (4) a tight antiparasitic management potentially contributes to the improved breeding success in bird species.