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Seeking records of birds with bill abnormality

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From Jim Reynolds, University of Birmingham:
 
I am starting a research project which involves calling upon the world’s ornithologists to send me records about a rather ‘rare’ condition in birds: sublingual oral fistulas (in which the skin and muscle of the lower mandible are missing; the tongue protrudes through the opening and is often outside the mouth cavity permanently).

 

Sublingual oral fistulas were first documented in Stitchbirds (hihi) in New Zealand and since then we have found it in two species of seabirds in the South Atlantic – the Sooty Tern and the Masked Booby. My research project attempts to document the species in which it occurs, identify the cause(s) and describe the progression of the condition.

 

Therefore, I am particularly interested in hearing from three groups of people who have close encounters with birds – wildlife photographers, field veterinary researchers and ringers, but also more broadly from anyone who has encountered the condition in birds.

 

The essence of the project is captured in the following webpage which can be found at www.birmingham.ac.uk/oral-fistula where both an Information Sheet and a downloadable Reporting Form can be found. The latter can be completed and returned to me by e-mail (J.Reynolds.2@bham.ac.uk).

 

I launched the call for reports of the condition about a month ago to heads of various national ringing schemes around the world, to wildlife veterinary groups, to wildlife photographers etc. and at the time of writing I have received 28 completed report forms that describe the condition in 10 different species. However, I know that this is potentially only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and I would really appreciate it if you could pour over your field notebooks and get in contact if this triggers any memories of birds with the condition. I am hoping that posting this call will result in others becoming aware of my research project.

 

I am interested in receiving detailed records of birds with the condition including any high resolution photographs that you might be able to provide to accompany a completed form. You would of course be contacted to seek permission before any such photograph was used in a research output and any such photo would be accompanied by a photo credit. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

All the best,
Jim

**********************************************************************
S. James Reynolds BSc MScF DPhil,
Centre for Ornithology,
School of Biosciences,
College of Life & Environmental Sciences,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK

Tel. 0121-414-3639 Fax. 0121-414-5925
Webpages: http://www.biosciences.bham.ac.uk/About/staff_profiles_Contact.htm?ID=78
http://www.ornithology.bham.ac.uk/staff/academicstaff/jimreynolds.shtml
Oral fistula project: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/oral-fistula

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