The present study was designed to comparatively investigate 19 Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from specimens of 19 different birds during routine microbiological diagnostics. The S. aureus strains were characterized genotypically by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using 62 different oligonucleotide primers amplifying genes encoding staphylococcal cell surface proteins, exoproteins and two classes of the accessory gene regulator agr. All 19 investigated S. aureus were positive for the gene segment encoding a S. aureus-specific part of the 23S rRNA, the genes encoding thermostable nuclease (nuc), clumping factor (clfA) and coagulase (coa) and the gene segments encoding the Xr-repetitive region and the immunoglobulin G (IgG)-binding region of protein A (spa). In addition, all tested strains were positive for the genes hla and fnbA and negative for the genes seb, sec, sed, see, sej, tst, eta and etb. The remaining genes, including sbi, hlb, fnbB, ebpS, cna (domains A and B), cap5, cap8, set1, agr class I, agr class II, sea, seg, seh and sei were detected in a variable number of isolates. The presented data give an overview on the distribution of virulence determinants of S. aureus strains isolated from birds. This might be useful to understand the role of these virulence determinants in bird infections.