Haemagglutination-inhibition (HI) tests are a simple method used to assess immune responses to influenza haemagglutinin. However, HI tests are insensitive at detection of antibody responses to avian haemagglutinin after vaccination or natural infection, even in the presence of high titres of neutralising antibody or virus isolation. Avian influenza viruses preferentially bind to sialic acid receptors that contain N-acetylneuraminic acid alpha2,3-galactose (alpha2,3Gal) linkages while human viruses preferentially bind to those containing N-acetylneuraminic acid alpha2,6-galactose (alpha2,6Gal) linkages. By using horse erythrocytes in the HI test and thereby increasing the proportion of alpha2,3Gal linkages available for binding, we are able to demonstrate improved detection of antibody to avian H5 in human sera following vaccination with MF59-adjuvanted A/Duck/Singapore/97 surface antigen vaccine. This modified HI test was more sensitive in detection of anti-H5 antibody evoked by revaccination of primed subjects and may be useful in assessing potential avian HA vaccine candidates.