Mycoplasma spp. have been detected in birds of prey, but their prevalence in free living raptors and their significance to birds' health need further investigation. Molecular techniques have been increasingly used to identify mycoplasmas in various avian species, due to the fastidious nature of these pathogens hampering traditional bacteriologic tests. This study reports the identification of 23 novel mycoplasma sequences during the monitoring of 62 birds of prey on admission to wildlife centers in Sardinia, Italy. Molecular investigation performed on pharyngeal swabs revealed 26 birds positive to Mycoplasma (42%). Sequence analysis based on 16S rRNA, 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer, and RNA polymerase β subunit (rpoB) gene highlighted cluster assignment and phylogenetic relationships among the identified types, classified within the hominis group. Additionally, Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale, associated with respiratory disease in poultry, was identified in 17 birds (27%). Potential coinfection and mycoplasma opportunistic nature present implications for raptor species conservation.
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