Abstract

Ticks can be transported over large distances and across geographical barriers by avian hosts. During the spring migrations of 2003 to 2005, 9,768 passerine birds from 4 bird observatories along the southern coastline of Norway were examined for ticks. Altogether, 713 birds carried a total of 517 larvae and 1,440 nymphs. The highest prevalence of tick infestation was observed in thrushes and dunnock (Prunella modularis). The degree of tick infestation varied during each season, between localities, and from year to year. Blackbirds (Turdus merula) caught in localities with many ticks had greater infestation than those from localities with few or no ticks, suggesting local tick recruitment. A similar study performed during 1965–1970 involving 2 of the bird observatories in the present study found ticks on 4.2% of birds, while we found infestation of 6.9% at the same localities (P < 0.001). With the exception of 10 nymphs and 1 larva, the predominant tick was Ixodes ricinus. Seven nymphs of Hyalomma rufipes and 1 larva of Dermacentor sp. were also found. No species of Dermacentor had previously been found in Norway.

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