A comparison of the bacterial microflora found on the surface of American kestrel and House Wren eggs

Beth A. Potter, Emily J. Hyde, Holly N. Pier, Michael A. Rutter, Margaret A. Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Itis generally accepted that avian eggs acquire a microflora during ovipositioning. The goal of this study was to identify and compare the eggshell microflora of two avian species, House Wrens and American Kestrels. Differences in the nesting habitats and incubation behavior of these species suggest that their eggshell microfloras also should differ. Culture-dependent techniques were combined with sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to identify bacteria in samples taken from American Kestrel eggs during late incubation. These data were compared to previously collected data from House Wren eggs. In both studies, bacteria were isolated from three different phyla, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Proteobacte-ria. The eggshell microflora of Kestrels was dominated by bacteria in the Actinobacteria and Firmicutes phyla during late incubation, whereas the eggshell microflora of House Wrens was dominated by bacteria in the Gamma-Proteobacteria subphylum during pre- and late-incubation and bacteria within the Fimicutes phylum during early incubation. Actinobac-teria genera on House Wren and American Kestrel eggshells differed, but the prominent genera in the Gamma-Proteobacteria and Firmicutes phyla, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus, respectively, were similar between bird species. Thus, our results suggest that the microflora of avian eggshells have both variable (i.e., phyla) and conserved (i.e., specific genera) aspects of bacterial diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Ornithology Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 4 2014


  • Actinobacteria
  • Eggshell
  • Firmicutes
  • Microflora
  • Proteobacteria
  • Pseudomonas
  • Staphylococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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