Internal Parasites:





    A huge number of falcons in the Arabian Gulf are infected by several internal parasites (we describe here just the most common ones).

Most are acquired from infected food items but infections are often made worse in contaminated captive environments as the birds will continually reinfect themselves developing “super infections”.

Depending on the affected organ divisions needs to be made in Parasites of:

The alimentary system.

The respiratory system.

The blood.

Parasites of the alimentary system:

The most common parasites in this group are Coccidia of the genus caryospora.

The falcons are infected from their prey. Young birds or those stressed by hard training are most severely affected and symptoms may include weakness, weight loss, poor appetite, poor flying, vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood.

Severe infections can lead to death.

Also very common parasites in this group are Trichomonas gallinae.

This parasite mainly causes lesions in the mouth and crop, but can also cause problems in the ear, sinuses, trachea and lower alimentary tract. Symptoms include poor appetite, food flicking, vomiting and losing weight.

Tapeworms, other parasites of this group, falcons acquire from their prey, usually rodents. Tapeworms inhabit the small intestine and cause clinical signs such as weight loss, poor appetite and diarrhea.

Parasites of the respiratory system:

The most common parasites in this group are Serratospiculum spp. It affects mainly the thoracacical and abdominal and the peritoneum. An infection with Serratospiculum can lead in extreme cases to severe problems.

The falcons have breathing problems and show vomiting.

Parasites of the blood:

There are three common blood parasites which can be dangerous for falcons. Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon and Plasmodium, which are transmitted by all kinds of biting insects.

Only severely infected falcons, mainly young and immunosuppressed birds, show symptoms like weakness, poor appetite and respiratory symptoms.


The treatment of internal parasites follows individually, concerning the type of parasite. But a common major point is a good hygiene, which prevents the spread of infection as falcons reinfect themselves from contaminated environments and the prey.