This study aimed at determining the possible exposure of wild birds to avian influenza (AI), infectious bronchitis (IB) and Newcastle disease (ND) viruses. Apparently healthy species of free flying wild birds were captured using locally-made baited traps set at strategic watering and feeding locations and in poultry farms. Few species of captive wild birds in households and live bird markets (LBMs) were also sampled. Sera from blood samples collected were analyzed for antibodies to AI, IB and ND viruses using enzyme linked immunorsorbent assay (ELISA). Out of the 209 sera analysed, Bubulcus ibis was 24%, 70% and 27% while Psittacus erithacus was 7%, 21% and 7% positive for antibodies to AI, IB and ND viruses, respectively. Branta canadensis, was 35% and 64% positive for antibodies to AI and IB viruses. Balearica regulorum and Numidia maleagris were 100% and 9% positive to AI virus antibodies. Free flying birds were 19 (15%), 57 (45%) and 27 (21%) positive while captive wild birds were 11%, 20% and 14% positive to AI, IB and ND viruses antibodies, respectively. The results of this study confirm that wild birds were exposed to AI, IB and ND viruses. There was co-exposure of some wild bird species to AI, IB and ND viruses. These birds could possibly serve as carriers and disseminators of AI, IB and ND to poultry. Therefore, control measures against these important poultry diseases should include incursion of wild birds.
Key words: Avian influenza, Infectious bronchitis, Newcastle disease, Nigeria, Wild birds