Bird louse

A bird louse is any chewing louse (small, biting insects) of order Phthiraptera which parasitizes warm-blooded animals, especially birds. Bird lice may feed on feathers, skin, or blood. They have no wings, and their biting mouth parts distinguish them from true lice, which suck blood.[1] [2]

Almost all domestic birds are hosts for at least one species of bird louse. Chickens and other poultry are attacked by many kinds of bird lice.[2] Bird lice usually do not cause much harm to a bird unless it is unusually infested as in the case of birds with damaged bills which cannot preen themselves properly. A blood-consuming louse that infests Galápagos Hawks is more numerous on hawks without territories, possibly because those individuals spend more time looking for food and less time preening than hawks with territories.

In such cases, their irritation may cause the bird to damage itself by scratching. In extreme cases, the infestation may even interfere with egg production and the fattening of poultry.[1] Unlike true lice, bird lice do not carry infectious diseases.[2] Having coevolved with their specific host(s), phylogenetic relationships among bird lice are sometimes of use when trying to determine phylogenetic relationships among birds.[3]

Earlier all chewing lice were considered to form the paraphyletic order Mallophaga while the sucking lice were thought to form the order Anoplura. Recent reclassification (Clay, 1970) has combined these orders into the order Phthiraptera. The bird lice belong to two suborders, Amblycera and Ischnocera, although some members of these suborders do not parasitize birds and are therefore not bird lice.[4]:2010–202

The families which parasitize birds are:[4]


  1. ^ a b "Bird louse" on Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ a b c "Bird louse". How Stuff Works?. HowStuffWorks, Inc. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  3. ^ Cohen, Baker, Belchschmidt, Dittmann, Furness, Gerwin, Helbig, de Korte, Marshall, Palma, Peter, Ramli, Siebold, Willcox, Wilson and Zink (1997). Enigmatic phylogeny of skuas. Proc. Biol. Sci. 264(1379): 181–190.
  4. ^ a b Gillot, C. Entomology 2nd Ed. (1995) Springer, ISBN 0-306-44967-6, ISBN 978-0-306-44967-3. Accessed on Google Books on 09 Apr 2010.


Australasian gannet

The Australasian gannet (Morus serrator), also known as Australian gannet and tākapu, is a large seabird of the booby and gannet family, Sulidae. Adults are mostly white, with black flight feathers at the wingtips and lining the trailing edge of the wing. The central tail feathers are also black. The head is tinged buff-yellow, with a pale blue-grey bill edged in black, and blue-rimmed eyes. Young birds have mottled plumage in their first year, dark above and light below. The head is an intermediate mottled grey, with a dark bill. The birds gradually acquire more white in subsequent seasons until they reach maturity after five years.

The species range over water above the continental shelf along the southern and eastern Australian coastline, from Steep Point in Western Australia to Rockhampton, Queensland, as well as the North and South Islands of New Zealand, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. Nesting takes place in colonies along the coastlines of New Zealand, Victoria and Tasmania—mostly on offshore islands, although there are several mainland colonies in both countries. Highly territorial when breeding, the Australasian gannet performs agonistic displays to defend its nest. Potential and mated pairs engage in courtship and greeting displays. The nest is a cup-shaped mound composed of seaweed, earth, and other debris, built by the female from material mainly gathered by the male. A single pale blue egg is laid yearly, though lost eggs may be replaced. The chick is born featherless but is soon covered in white down. Fed regurgitated fish by its parents, it grows rapidly and outweighs the average adult when it fledges.

These birds are plunge divers and spectacular fishers, plunging into the ocean at high speed. They eat mainly squid and forage fish that school near the surface. The species faces few natural or man-made threats, and since its population is growing it is considered to be a least-concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Black-necked stork

The black-necked stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) is a tall long-necked wading bird in the stork family. It is a resident species across the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia with a disjunct population in Australia. It lives in wetland habitats and certain crops such as rice and wheat where it forages for a wide range of animal prey. Adult birds of both sexes have a heavy bill and are patterned in white and glossy blacks, but the sexes differ in the colour of the iris. In Australia, it is sometimes called a jabiru although that name refers to a stork species found in the Americas. It is one of the few storks that is strongly territorial when feeding.

Blue-winged parrot

The blue-winged parrot (Neophema chrysostoma), also known as the blue-banded parakeet or blue-banded grass-parakeet, is a small parrot found in Tasmania and southeast mainland Australia. It is partly migratory, with populations of blue-winged parrots travelling to Tasmania for the summer. The parrot is sexually dimorphic – the males have more blue on the wings and a two-toned blue frontal band on the head, while females are duller and have more green on the wings and a wingbar. Both sexes have predominantly olive-green plumage. Predominantly a feeder on the ground, the blue-winged parrot mainly eats seeds of grasses. It adapts readily to captivity.

Bob Green (naturalist)

Robert Geoffrey Hewett "Bob" Green AM (4 November 1925 - 29 August 2013) was an Australian naturalist, photographer, conservationist, and long-term Curator of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston, Tasmania.

Carnaby's black cockatoo

Carnaby's black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris), also known as the short-billed black cockatoo, is a large black cockatoo endemic to southwest Australia. It was described in 1948 by naturalist Ivan Carnaby. Measuring 53–58 cm (21–23 in) in length, it has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly greyish black, and it has prominent white cheek patches and a white tail band. The body feathers are edged with white giving a scalloped appearance. Adult males have a dark grey beak and pink eye-rings. Adult females have a bone-coloured beak, grey eye-rings and ear patches that are paler than those of the males.

This cockatoo usually lays a clutch of one to two eggs. It generally takes 28 to 29 days for the female to incubate the eggs, and the young fledge ten to eleven weeks after hatching. The young will stay with the family until the next breeding season, and sometimes even longer. The family leaves the nesting site after the young fledge until the following year. Carnaby's black cockatoo forms flocks when not breeding, with birds in drier habitats usually being more migratory than those in wetter ones. It flies with deep and slow wingbeats, generally high above trees. Seeds of plants of the families Proteaceae and, to a lesser extent, Myrtaceae form a large part of its diet.

Carnaby's black cockatoo nests in hollows situated high in trees with fairly large diameters, generally Eucalyptus. With much of its habitat lost to land clearing and development and threatened by further habitat destruction, Carnaby's black cockatoo is listed as an endangered species by the Federal and Western Australian governments. It is also classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Like most parrots, it is protected by CITES, an international agreement that makes trade, export, and import of listed wild-caught species illegal.

Green ibis

The green ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), also known as the Cayenne ibis, is a wading bird in the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is the only member of the genus Mesembrinibis.

This is a resident breeder from Honduras through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western Panama, and South America to northern Argentina. It undertakes some local seasonal movements in the dry season.

Last Man Running

Last Man Running is a BBC Books original novel written by Chris Boucher and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features the Fourth Doctor and Leela.

Laughing owl

The laughing owl (Sceloglaux albifacies), also known as whēkau or the white-faced owl, was an endemic owl of New Zealand. Plentiful when European settlers arrived in New Zealand, its scientific description was published in 1845, but it was largely or completely extinct by 1914. The species belonged to the monotypic genus Sceloglaux ("scoundrel owl", probably because of the mischievous-sounding calls), although recent genetic studies indicate that it belongs with the boobook owls in the genus Ninox.


The Mallophaga are a suborder of lice, known as chewing lice, biting lice or bird lice, containing more than 3000 species. These lice are external parasites that feed mainly on birds, although some species also feed on mammals. They infest both domestic and wild animals and birds, and cause considerable irritation to their hosts. They have paurometabolis or incomplete metamorphosis.

Northern rosella

The northern rosella (Platycercus venustus), formerly known as Brown's rosella or the smutty rosella, is a species of parrot native to northern Australia, ranging from the Gulf of Carpentaria and Arnhem Land to the Kimberley. It was described by Heinrich Kuhl in 1820, and two subspecies are recognised. The species is unusually coloured for a rosella, with a dark head and neck with pale cheeks—predominantly white in the nominate subspecies from the Northern Territory and blue in the Western Australian subspecies hillii. The northern rosella's mantle and scapulars are black with fine yellow scallops, while its back, rump and underparts are pale yellow with fine black scallops. The long tail is blue-green and the wings are black and blue-violet. The sexes have similar plumage, while females and younger birds are generally duller with occasional spots of red.

Found in woodland and open savannah country, the northern rosella is predominantly herbivorous, consuming seeds, particularly of grasses and eucalypts, as well as flowers and berries, but it may also eat insects. Nesting takes place in tree hollows. Although uncommon, the northern rosella is rated as least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Endangered species.

Outline of birds

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to birds:

Birds (class Aves) – winged, bipedal, endothermic (warm-blooded), egg-laying, vertebrate animals. There are around 10,000 living species, making them the most varied of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from the 5 cm (2 in) bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) ostrich.

Painted stork

The painted stork (Mycteria leucocephala) is a large wader in the stork family. It is found in the wetlands of the plains of tropical Asia south of the Himalayas in the Indian Subcontinent and extending into Southeast Asia. Their distinctive pink tertial feathers of the adults give them their name. They forage in flocks in shallow waters along rivers or lakes. They immerse their half open beaks in water and sweep them from side to side and snap up their prey of small fish that are sensed by touch. As they wade along they also stir the water with their feet to flush hiding fish. They nest colonially in trees, often along with other waterbirds. The only sounds they produce are weak moans or bill clattering at the nest. They are not migratory and only make short distance movements in some parts of their range in response to changes in weather or food availability or for breeding. Like other storks, they are often seen soaring on thermals.


Paleoparasitology (or "palaeoparasitology") is the study of parasites from the past, and their interactions with hosts and vectors; it is a subfield of Paleontology, the study of living organisms from the past. Some authors define this term more narrowly, as "Paleoparasitology is the study of parasites in archaeological material." (p. 103) K.J. Reinhard suggests that the term "archaeoparasitology" be applied to "... all parasitological remains excavated from archaeological contexts ... derived from human activity" and that "the term 'paleoparasitology' be applied to studies of nonhuman, paleontological material." (p. 233) This article follows Reinhard's suggestion and discusses the protozoan and animal parasites of non-human animals and plants from the past, while those from humans and our hominid ancestors are covered in archaeoparasitology.

Pheasant-tailed jacana

The pheasant-tailed jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) is a jacana in the monotypic genus Hydrophasianus. Like all other jacanas they have elongated toes and nails that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. They may also swim or wade in water reaching their body while foraging mainly for invertebrate prey. They are found in tropical Asia from Yemen in the west to the Philippines in the east and move seasonally in parts of their range. They are the only jacanas that migrate long distances and with different non-breeding and breeding plumages. The pheasant-tailed jacana forages by swimming or by walking on aquatic vegetation. Females are larger than the males and are polyandrous, laying several clutches that are raised by different males in their harem.

Red-capped parrot

The red-capped parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) is a species of broad-tailed parrot native to southwest Western Australia. It was described by Heinrich Kuhl in 1820, with no subspecies recognised. It has long been classified in its own genus owing to its distinctive elongated beak, though genetic analysis shows that it lies within the lineage of the Psephotellus parrots and that its closest relative is the mulga parrot (Psephotellus varius). Not easily confused with other parrot species, it has a bright crimson crown, green-yellow cheeks, and a distinctive long bill. The wings, back, and long tail are dark green, and the underparts are purple-blue. The adult female is very similar though sometimes slightly duller than the male; her key distinguishing feature is a white stripe on the wing under-surface. Juveniles are predominantly green.

Found in woodland and open savanna country, the red-capped parrot is predominantly herbivorous, consuming seeds, particularly of eucalypts, as well as flowers and berries, but insects are occasionally eaten. Nesting takes place in tree hollows, generally of older large trees. Although the red-capped parrot has been shot as a pest and has been affected by land clearing, the population is growing and the species is considered of least-concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It has a reputation of being anxious and difficult to breed in captivity.

Red wattlebird

The red wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) is a passerine bird native to southern Australia. At 33–37 cm (13–14 1⁄2 in) in length, it is the second largest species of Australian honeyeater. It has mainly grey-brown plumage, with red eyes, distinctive pinkish-red wattles on either side of the neck, white streaks on the chest and a large bright yellow patch on the lower belly. The sexes are similar in plumage. Juveniles have less prominent wattles and browner eyes. John White described the red wattlebird in 1790; three subspecies are recognized.

The species is found in southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and southwest Western Australia in open forest and woodland, and is a common visitor to urban gardens and parks. Loud and conspicuous, the red wattlebird is generally found in trees, where it gets most of its food; occasionally it forages on the ground. It is one of the largest nectarivorous birds in the world, feeding from a wide variety of flowering plants. Insects also comprise part of its diet. It is territorial and at times aggressive to birds of other species, often defending rich sources of nectar. Breeding throughout its range, the red wattlebird builds a cup-shaped nest in a tree and raises one to two broods a year. Although it has declined in places from land clearing, it is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Snow partridge

The snow partridge (Lerwa lerwa) is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae found widely distributed across the high-altitude Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal and China. It is the only species within its genus. The species is found in alpine pastures and open hillside above the treeline but not in as bare rocky terrain as the Himalayan snowcock and is not as wary as that species. Males and females look similar in plumage but males have a spur on their tarsus.

Stephen Fry

Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) is an English actor, comedian and writer. He and Hugh Laurie are the comic double act Fry and Laurie, who starred in A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster.

Fry's acting roles include a Golden Globe Award–nominated lead performance in the film Wilde, Melchett in the BBC television series Blackadder, the title character in the television series Kingdom, a recurring guest role as Dr Gordon Wyatt on the crime series Bones, and as Gordon Deitrich in the dystopian thriller V for Vendetta. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award–winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his bipolar disorder, and the travel series Stephen Fry in America. He was also the long-time host of the BBC television quiz show QI, with his tenure lasting from 2003 to 2016.

Besides working in television, Fry has contributed columns and articles for newspapers and magazines and written four novels and three volumes of autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles, and More Fool Me. He also appears frequently on BBC Radio 4, starring in the comedy series Absolute Power, being a frequent guest on panel games such as Just a Minute, and acting as chairman during one series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where he was one of a trio of possible hosts who were tried out to succeed the late Humphrey Lyttelton, Jack Dee getting the post permanently.

Fry is also known for his voice-overs, reading all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings, narrating the LittleBigPlanet and Birds of Steel series of video games, as well as an animated series of explanations of the laws of cricket, and a series of animations about Humanism for Humanists UK. He has also filmed commercials, including an advertisement where he explains the essence of British culture to foreigners arriving at London's Heathrow Airport.

White-bellied drongo

The white-bellied drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens) is a species of drongo found across the Indian Subcontinent. Like other members of the family Dicruridae they are insectivorous and is mainly black in colour but with a white belly and vent. Young birds are, however, all black and can be confused with the black drongo, although smaller and more compact in appearance, and the subspecies found in Sri Lanka has white restricted to the vent.

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