birding-aus Re: Bird lice

Subject: birding-aus Re: Bird lice
From: "Carol Probets" <>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 05:12:46 PDT

Anthea Fleming wrote today:

Moreover [Mynahs] and Starlings carry a lot of mites and birdlice - which
often stay on in a nest hollow or box, lying in wait for the next
tenant...Whether they carry diseases to native species I don't know but
it's a possibility. (One reason Hawaii has now very few native birds is
that released exotic birds brought in a bird malaria, which was spread
to the native birds by indiscriminate mosquitoes).  Certainly you don't
want them in your roof - the nests are a real fire hazard in roof- and
wall-space, and the parasites can start on you.. (The old Education Dept
building above the Fitzroy Gardens was notoriously a lousy place to work
because of Starlings under the slates).


It's a commonly heard argument against Mynahs and Starlings that they pass on lice to people, however I was under the impression that lice are host-specific and therefore bird lice are no risk to humans (or other mammals, for that matter). Can someone clarify this? And similarly for mites and other parasites?


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