US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2016, 7, pp. 1174–1181 doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12583


U.S. government work.


1.Immunological reagents for wild, non-model species are limited or often non-existent for many species.

2. In this study, we compare the reactivity of a newanti-passerine IgY secondary antibody with existing secondary antibodies developed for use with birds. Samples from 41 species from the following six avian orders were analysed: Anseriformes (1 family, 1 species), Columbiformes (1 family, 2 species), Galliformes (1 family, 1 species), Passeriformes (16 families, 34 species), Piciformes (1 family, 2 species) and Suliformes (1 family, 1 species). Direct ELISAs were performed to detect total IgY using goat anti-passerine IgY, goat anti-chicken IgY or goat anti-bird IgY secondary antibodies.

3.The anti-passerine antibody exhibited significantly higher IgY reactivity compared to the antichicken and/or anti-bird antibodies in 80% of the passerine families tested. Birds in the order Piciformes (woodpeckers) and order Suliformes (cormorants) were poorly detected by all three secondary antibodies. A comparison of serum and plasma IgY levels was made within the same individuals for two passerine species (house finch and white-crowned sparrow), and serum exhibited significantly more IgY than the plasma for all three secondary antibodies. This result indicates that serummay be preferred to plasma whenmeasuring total antibody levels in blood.

4.This study indicates that the anti-passerine IgY secondary antibody can effectively be used in immunological assays to detect passerine IgY for species in most passerine families and is preferred over anti-chicken and anti-bird secondary antibodies for the majority of passerine species. This antipasserine antibody will allow for more accurate detection and quantification of IgY in more wild bird species thanwas possible with previously available secondary antibodies.