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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Avian malaria parasite infections do not affect personality in the chestnut thrush (Turdus rubrocanus) on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Jing, Chun-lei; Lou, Ying-Qiang; Liu, Huan; Song, Kai; Fang, Yun; Hoglund, Jacob; Halvarsson, Peter; Sun, Yue-Hua


Personality traits, the consistent individual behavioral differences, are currently gaining much attention in studies of natural bird populations. However, associations between personality traits and parasite infections are not often investigated. Even less attention has been given to studies of birds in the high-elevation region such as the Tibetan plateau. This research aims to examine the relationship between avian malaria parasites and two personality traits in a population of the Chestnut Thrush (Turdus rubrocanus) breed in the Tibetan plateau. Our results revealed no evidence of sex bias in malaria parasite prevalence. Furthermore, we found no effect of infection status on two personality scores: activity and boldness. Additionally, no effects on the activity level or boldness were observed for different parasite lineages of Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, the sex of the birds, or their interactions. Similarly, we did not find any relationship between activity level and boldness with nestling numbers, sex, or their interactions. Notably, individuals with a larger number of offspring tended to display greater boldness. Our findings indicate that blood parasite infections are common in this population but do not significantly impact the personality of the birds.


Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; Host-parasite interactions; Breathing rate; Activity; Avian malaria lineages

Published in

2023, Volume: 9, number: 9, article number: e20082
Publisher: CELL PRESS