Influenza A viruses with subtype H13 hemagglutinin display an unusual host range. Although common in shorebirds, they are very rare or absent in wild ducks; additionally, H13 viruses have been isolated from a whale. To study the molecular basis for this host range, we have determined the complete nucleotide sequences of the hemagglutinin genes of three H13 influenza viruses from different species or geographical areas: A/gull/Maryland/77, A/gull/Astrachan (USSR)/84, and A/pilot whale/Maine/84. Based on the deduced amino acid sequences, H13 hemagglutinin shares the basic structure of other type A hemagglutinin subtypes such as H3, but has clearly diverged from other completely sequenced subtypes. Unique features of H13 hemagglutinin include the occurrence, near the receptor binding pocket, of residues Arg/Lys-227 and Trp-229 (H3 numbering); the significance of these are unknown. The sequence of the HA1-HA2 cleavage site resembles those of avirulent avian influenza viruses. The whale H13 hemagglutinin is similar to those from gulls, supporting the hypothesis that influenza viruses from avian sources can enter marine mammal populations but are probably not permanently maintained there. Antigenic analysis using a panel of monoclonal antibodies suggests that, like other subtypes, H13 viruses are heterogeneous, with different antigenic variants predominating in the eastern versus the western hemispheres.