During spring–summer 2003–2004, the avian community was surveyed for hemosporidian parasites in an oak (Quercus spp.) and madrone (Arbutus spp.) woodland bordering grassland and chaparral habitats at a site in northern California, a geographic location and in habitat types not previously sampled for these parasites. Of 324 birds from 46 species (21 families) sampled (including four species not previously examined for hemosporidians), 126 (39%) were infected with parasites identified as species of one or more of the genera Plasmodium (3% of birds sampled), Haemoproteus (30%), and Leucocytozoon (11%). Species of parasite were identified by morphology in stained blood smears and were consistent with one species of Plasmodium, 11 species of Haemoproteus, and four species of Leucocytozoon. We document the presence of one of the parasite genera in seven new host species and discovered 12 new parasite species–host species associations. Hatching-year birds were found infected with parasites of all three genera. Prevalence of parasites for each genus differed significantly for the entire sample, and prevalence of parasites for the most common genus, Haemoproteus, differed significantly among bird families. Among families with substantial sample sizes, the Vireonidae (63%) and Emberizidae (70%) were most often infected with Haemoproteus spp. No evidence for parasite between-genus interaction, either positive or negative, was found. Overall prevalence of hemosporidians at the northern California sites and predominance of Haemoproteus spp. was similar to that reported in most other surveys for the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean islands.
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Vol. 44 • No. 2