Histochemical and electron microscopic studies of biceps femoris, pectoralis major and rectus femoris of chronically treated birds with seeds of the poisonous plant Senna occidentalis (0.2% external/internal tegment), were performed. The muscles had similar features of human mitochondrial myopathy as ragged-red fibers, cytochrome-oxidase negative fibers, and weak activity of the oxidative enzymes. Fibers with lipid storage were also present. Acid phosphatase activity in rare muscle fibers was also detected, and represents probably a secondary degenerative process. By electron microscopy, enlarged mitochondria with disrupted or excessively branched cristae were seen. The present study presents a new experimental model of mitochondrial myopathy that may be useful for the best knowledge of this group of diseases and for experimental trials of drugs that could reverse the mitochondrial impairment in the mitochondrial myopathies.