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Volume 12, Number 7—July 2006

Research

Migratory Passerine Birds as Reservoirs of Lyme Borreliosis in Europe

Pär Comstedt*, Sven Bergström*, Björn Olsen*†, Ulf Garpmo*‡, Lisette Marjavaara*, Hans Mejlon§, Alan G. Barbour¶, and Jonas Bunikis¶Comments to Author 
Author affiliations: *Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; †Kalmar University, Kalmar, Sweden; ‡Kalmar Hospital, Kalmar, Sweden; §Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; ¶University of California, Irvine, California, USA

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Table 2

Ixodes ricinus ticks on migratory birds at bird observatories in Sweden and Denmark, 1991

Bird species* No. birds examined No. ticks collected No. (%) birds infested Mean no. ticks per infested bird
Ground foraging
Erithacus rubecula 3,345 145 72 (2.2) 2.0
Luscina luscinia 204 90 28 (13.7) 3.2
Luscina svecica 301 18 11 (3.7) 1.6
Turdus philomelus 610 50 22 (3.6) 2.3
Turdus iliacus 457 100 38 (8.3) 2.6
Turdus merula 264 121 44 (16.7) 2.8
Turdus pilaris 109 5 4 (3.7) 1.3
Sturnus vulgaris 18 9 5 (27.7) 1.8
Prunella modularis 68 7 4 (5.8) 1.8
Anthus trivialis 237 105 47 (19.8) 2.2
Fringilla coelebs 169 3 3 (1.7) 1.0
Carduelis flammea 1,300 5 2 (0.2) 2.5
Pyrrhula pyrrhula 196 4 2 (1.0) 2.0
Carduelis chloris 93 1 1 (1.1) 1.0
Emberiza schoeniclus 187 2 2 (1.1) 1.0
Troglodytes troglodytes 674 12 6 (0.9) 2.0
Acrocephalus palustris 156 8 6 (3.8) 1.3
Other
Accipiter nisus 93 2 2 (2.2) 1.0
Sylvia atricapilla 501 11 5 (1.0) 2.2
Sylvia borin 285 1 1 (0.3) 1.0
Sylvia curruca 450 4 4 (0.9) 1.0
Regulus regulus 2,566 5 5 (0.2) 1.0
Parus major 454 2 2 (0.4) 1.0
Phoenicurus phoenicurus 688 70 44 (6.4) 1.6
Sylvia communis 650 38 22 (3.4) 1.7
Acrocephalus scirpaceus 1,764 15 15 (0.9) 1.0
Total 15,839 833 397 (2.5) 2.1

*Ground-foraging species include invertebrate feeders (Erithacus rubecula through Sturnus vulgaris), insectivores (Prunella modularis and Anthus trivialis), granivores (Fringilla coelebs through Emberiza schoeniclus), and herbaceous plant–foraging insectivores (Troglodytes troglodytes and Acrocephalus palustris). Other species include raptors (Accipiter nisus), arboreal insectivores (Sylvia atricapilla through Phoenicurus phoenicurus), and reed-foraging insectivores (Sylvia communis and Acrocephalus scirpaceus). The common names of the 26 species listed (from top to bottom) are European robin, thrush nightingale, bluethroat, song thrush, redwing thrush, blackbird, fieldfare, starling, dunnock, tree pipit, chaffinch, redpoll, bull finch, green finch, reed bunting, wren, marsh warbler, sparrow hawk, blackcap, garden warbler, lesser whitethroat, goldcrest, great tit, redstart, whitethroat, and reed warbler.

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