Leucocytozoon spp. and Trypanosoma spp. blood parasites in the redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) were studied during spring migration 1994 in southern Finland (53 individuals) and the breeding season 1992–1994 in northern Finland (69). Parasite prevalence was higher during the breeding season (48%) than during the migration period (13%), with no age or sex differences in the breeding site birds. In both periods, redstarts were infected by the same blood parasites Leucocytozoon shaartusicum (46% prevalence at the breeding site and 71% during the migration period) and Trypanosoma avium complex (58% and 43%, respectively). One individual at the breeding site had contracted L. dubreuili and one at the stop-over site had T. everetti. Our results may support the assumption that tissue-hidden parasites relapse during the breeding season when birds may have diminished immune response related to egg production and brood rearing. Another explanation could be that the high abundance of ornithophilic vectors enhance parasite transmission during breeding season in northern Finland.
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Vol. 35 • No. 3