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Coraciiformes TAG Buceros SSP Veterinary Advisor Annual Report

Veterinary Advisors

Kathryn C. Gamble DVM, MS, DACZM          Stephanie B. James, DVM, DACZM

Coraciiformes TAG – Hornbills                   Coraciiformes TAG – non-Hornbills

Buceros SSP

Lincoln Park Zoo                                  Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo

Director of Veterinary Services                   Clinical Veterinarian

2001 North Clark Street                        2300 Southern Blvd.

Chicago, IL 60614                               Bronx, NY 10460

Ph:  312.742.7722                              Ph:  718.220.7104

Fx:  312.742.7823                              Fx:  718.220.7126                      


Micronesian Kingfisher SSP:

Randall E. Junge, DVM, MS, DACZM              Scott P. Terrell, DVM, DACVP

SSP Veterinary Advisor                              SSP Pathology Advisor

St. Louis Zoo                                         Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Senior Staff Veterinarian                        Pathologist

One Government Drive                       P.O. Box 10,000

St. Louis, MO 63110                               Lake Buena Vista, FL

Ph:  314.781.0900, ext. 487                            Ph:  407-938-2746

Fx:  314.647.7969                              Fx:  407-938-1909                         


Health Updates:

  • Veterinary Advisory Group (VAG) recommendations for pre-shipment and quarantine of Coraciiformes was updated and released in April 2004.
  • Coraciiformes TAG (hornbills) Veterinary Advisor (Gamble) reviewed the EAZA Hornbill husbandry manual veterinary section at their request.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the casque in Buceros bicornis (giant or greater hornbill) presented in 1.1 specimens since the last report.  Continued progress has been made toward clinical address of the lesion but the condition has remained fatal to date.   

Last year’s report noted that nine animals had been diagnosed with SCC.  It was found recently that the first four animals on the list were double counted animals from the literature and personal communications.  Therefore, the total is seven animals.  

If this condition is suspected, please contact Dr. Gamble ASAP to discuss diagnostics, treatments, and after-care to facilitate standard of care.

  • Both veterinary advisors developed a pathology survey for 1900-2004 to facilitate monitoring and managing the numerous pathology reports received annually.  Dr. James has been managing the database for entry and review.  Continued efforts are underway to improve on the initial 33% response rate for pathology reports requested.    The database currently has 495 entries.
  • Dr. Terrell is still getting settled in as the pathology advisor for MKF’s.  A big thank you to Dr. Don Nichols (the previous pathology advisor) for providing all of his archived materials.  The following is a summary of pathology reports received by Dr. Terrell for birds that died in 2003-2004, except for egg deaths.   Mycobacteriosis remains a leading cause of adult bird deaths.  In two cases cultured (Disney and St Louis), Mycobacterium simiae rather than the more common Mycobacterium avium was isolated.  The significance of this is being investigated but will require all institutions with MKF deaths to submit post-mortem tissues for mycobacterial culture.  If resources are unavailable to culture these tissues, please contact Dr. Terrell and he will arrange cultures through the National Jewish Diagnostic Center.


SSP log# Species Submitter# StdBk# Date of death Institution Submitter Diagnosis
030217-1 Micronesian Kingfisher d03-72   17-Feb-03 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Terrell Mycobacterium simiae infection
040219-1 Micronesian Kingfisher 990143   9-Oct-03 Brookfield Zoo Tom Meehan Systemic Mycobacteriosis
040809-1 Micronesian Kingfisher STBK#409 409 26-Feb-03 San Diego unknown Trauma
040809-2 Micronesian Kingfisher STBK#186 186 26-Aug-03 San Diego unknown Yolk ceolomitis
040809-3 Micronesian Kingfisher STBK#178 178 22-Mar-03 San Diego unknown COD not determined
040824-2 Micronesian Kingfisher 100107   30-Sep-03 St Louis Zoo Duncan/Junge Mycobacterium simiae infection


Project Status:

  • Coraciiformes TAG Bibliography (Gamble)

This project has entered its third year and logged 1,075 citations in an easily searched spreadsheet format for hornbills (Asian and African), kingfishers, mot mots, and mixed taxa.  It can be printed in its entirety as 8.5” x 14” pages from the TAG website (veterinary section).   If a specific citation is needed, an e-mail request can be provided to Dr. Gamble to obtain it.

  • Internal Anatomy of the Hornbill Casque (Gamble)

This project was completed with 10 specimens due to an in-kind grant from Texas A&M University’s Schubot Center for Avian Medicine (CT images) and a full grant from the Association of Avian Veterinarians (radiography and skull preparation).  The study identified a unique feature of the hornbill sinus system in relation to the casque and provided substantial information on anatomy of this unique structure.  Preliminary results were presented at the annual conference of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.  A full manuscript will be submitted to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery by the end of 2004. 

  • Uropygial Gland Secretion Pigmentation of the Casque of Asian Hornbills (Gamble, Dierenfeld)

This project has been reviewed and the premise will be presented at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and American Zoo and Aquarium Association annual conferences in 2004.  In 2004-05, all U.S. AZA-held Buceros sp. will be requested for evaluation as an annual examination for skull radiographs and sampling of uropygial (preen) gland secreta.  Once this baseline is determined, funding will be sought for in situ sampling in concert with Asian zoological facilities and ongoing projects.



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