After reviewing several cases of atherosclerosis in young Brahminy kites (Haliastur indus), a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis in this species was hypothesized. A direct relationship between plasma cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis has already been formerly demonstrated in various bird species. Therefore, to test this hypothesis, 62 blood samples were collected from hand-raised birds of prey species, including five Brahminy kites, fed with whole day-old chicks, in order to compare cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerids concentrations in serum. All birds included in the study came from the same collection. Cholesterol serum concentration in Brahminy kites was significantly higher (P < 0.001) compared to other bird of prey species. Results showed that, under study conditions, the Brahminy kite is likely to be an atherosclerosis-susceptible species. However, the diet offered in this study greatly differs from the diet of wild Brahminy kites, which includes shellfish and fish. The effect of diet in captivity, especially the polyunsaturated fatty acid/saturated fatty acid ratio, still needs to be evaluated in this species.
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