In previous work, it was shown that turkey H7N3 influenza viruses, presumably derived 'in toto' from interspecies transmission of duck viruses in Northern Italy, had only 2 aa differences in haemagglutinin and a few amino acid differences as well as a 23 aa deletion in neuraminidase compared with duck viruses. Here, the replication of these duck and turkey viruses in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells was investigated with respect to virus-cell fusion and viral elution from red blood cells. Duck viruses showed similar receptor-binding properties to turkey viruses but possessed a higher pH of fusion activation than the turkey viruses. Conversely, turkey viruses were not able to elute from red blood cells. These data confirm that neuraminidase-stalk deletion impairs the release of virions from cells and also confirm existence of naturally occurring viruses with different pH fusion activities, raising the possibility that these features may play a role in the evolution of influenza viruses in different hosts.