Avian influenza viruses have 15 different hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes (H1-H15). We report a procedure for the identification and HA-subtyping of avian influenza virus by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The avian influenza virus is identified by RT-PCR using a set of primers specific to the nucleoprotein (NP) gene of avian influenza virus. The HA-subtypes of avian influenza virus were determined by running simultaneously 15 RT-PCR reactions, each using a set of primers specific to one HA-subtype. For a single virus strain or isolate, only one of the 15 RT-PCR reactions will give a product of expected size, and thus the HA-subtype of the virus is determined. The result of HA-subtyping was then confirmed by sequence analysis of the PCR product. A total of 80 strains or isolates of avian influenza viruses were subtyped by this RT-PCR procedure, and the result of RT-PCR gave an excellent (100%) correlation with the result of the conventional serological method. The RT-PCR procedure we developed is rapid and sensitive, and could be used for the identification and HA-subtyping of avian influenza virus in organ homogenates.