In the summer of 2015, avian malaria was found in a green finch from Son en Breugel in the South of the Netherlands and a pied avocet from Medemblik in North Holland. In 2011 the parasite was found in several blackbirds, a red-throated loon and in a variety of bird species in zoo collections.
Avian malaria is caused by several sorts of the plasmodium parasite which differ to those that affect man. Infected birds may die suddenly or otherwise show general malaise with fever or hypothermia (sitting with puffed up feathers), respiratory difficulty, and dehydration.
The red-throated loon was underweight whilst the green finch had a moderate to good nutritional status.
In the Netherlands avian malaria is spread by the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens) which is found, like the avian malaria parasite, throughout the country.