Capsule: Nestling Southern Grey Shrikes Lanius meridionalis show a high prevalence of
haemosporidian parasites including five lineages described here for the first time.
Aims: To examine the prevalence of various haemosporidian lineages in nestlings of three
separated Iberian populations of the Southern Grey Shrike.
Methods: Blood samples were taken from nestling Southern Grey Shrikes from three
agroecosystem areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Parasites were detected from blood samples using
polymerase chain reaction screening.
Resusts: Nestlings were parasitized by 11 different lineages belonging to the genera Haemoproteus
(3.8%), Plasmodium (0.5%) and Leucocytozoon (1.8%), including five new undescribed lineages.
These are among the highest prevalence levels of haemosporidians parasites (7.4%) for nestlings
of passerine birds.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that the distribution of avian haemosporidians is determined by
complex effects including climate and biogeography. Most parasite lineages were not universally
spread across shrike populations, despite being otherwise widespread both geographically and