Health evaluation of free-ranging Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) in Peru

Avian Dis. 2008 Mar;52(1):130-5. doi: 10.1637/8265-071007-Reg.


As part of ongoing ecological studies of Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) at Punta San Juan, Ica Department, Peru, health surveys were conducted in November 1992, 1993, and 1994. In the three surveys, 98 birds in total were handled for examination, and blood was collected for laboratory analysis from 90 of these birds. All birds seemed to be in good condition. Body weights of females were significantly lower in 1994 than in the other years. Fleas (Parapsyllus humboldti) and ticks (Ornithodoros amblus) were found on the penguins and in their nests. Females had significantly higher plasma calcium and phosphorus levels, and they had lower weights than males. No other differences were found between the sexes. Hematology, plasma chemistries, and plasma mineral levels varied between years. Positive antibody titers for Chlamydophila psittaci (62%), avian adenovirus (7%; 1994 only), paramyxovirus-2 (7%; 1993 only), and Salmonella Pullorum (7%) were found. Plasma chemistry and mineral levels differed between individuals testing positive vs. negative on serologic tests for avian adenovirus and Salmonella Pullorum. Serologic tests for antibodies to avian influenza A virus, avian encephalomyelitis virus, infectious bronchitis virus, avian reovirus, duck viral enteritis virus, equine encephalitis (eastern, western, and Venezuelan) viruses, infectious bursal disease virus, infectious laryngotracheitis virus, Aspergillus sp., and paramyxovirus-1 and -3 were negative. All chlorinated pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyl analyses were below detectable limits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bird Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bird Diseases / epidemiology
  • Body Weight
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Male
  • Peru / epidemiology
  • Spheniscidae* / blood