The response to intradermally injected phytohaemagglutinin (PHA-response) is a commonly used quantification of avian immunocompetence (the ability to resist pathogens). Parasite-mediated sexual selection requires heritable immunocompetence, but evidence for heritability of PHA-response in birds largely stems from full-sib comparisons. Using an animal model approach, we quantified the narrow-sense heritability of PHA-response in 1626 collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) nestlings from 332 families, most of which were cross-fostered. Nestling PHA-response was not significantly heritable (h2=0.06+/-0.10), but was subject to non-heritable nest-of-origin effects (10% of variation). Our findings illustrate that full-sib comparisons of immunological measures may lead to an inflated estimate of heritability and also reveal a limited role of nestling PHA-response for sexual selection in this population.