An Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) Transporting Snails During Spring Migration

Theodore J. Zenzal, Emily J. Lain, J. Michael Sellers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organisms with limited motility may use animal transport as a mechanism for dispersal. Migratory birds can provide a vehicle to move small organisms great distances, which may allow them access to areas that are otherwise inaccessible. During normal mist netting operations at a spring migration banding station along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast in Louisiana, USA, we encountered an Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) with numerous snails, possibly Galba cubensis, underneath its breast feathers. While encounters of songbirds carrying snails appear rare, long-distance migrating songbirds represent a possible mechanism to transport small snails great distances to expand ranges, colonize new areas, or maintain genetic continuity.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-902
Number of pages5
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • INHS
  • Chenier
  • Snails
  • Migration
  • Louisiana
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Stopover
  • Animal transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology


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