Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Wash contaminated semen and use it for artificial insemination

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Key messages

A single replicated controlled study in Spain found that semen contaminated with urine could be successfully washed to increase its pH and produced three raptor nestlings.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated controlled study from February-April in a captive breeding programme in Spain (Blanco et al. 2002) found that urine-contaminated sperm can be used to artificially inseminate raptor females after washing the sperm with an alkalinised diluent. Urine contamination of ejaculate samples was high in all 4 species (25 individuals) analysed (37% for golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, 43% for Spanish imperial eagle Aquila adalberti, 29% for Bonelli’s eagle A. fasciatus (also Hieraaetus fasciatus) and 48% for peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus) and significantly reduced semen pH (6.5-6.9 compared to 7.2-7.6). However, sperm motility was significantly higher in sperm washed with an alkalinised diluent (compared to a neutral diluent). An intramagnal insemination technique of washed semen produced 1 golden eagle and 2 peregrine falcon nestlings (11 and 16% of clutch size respectively). Each sperm sample was divided into two equal amounts and washed with either neutral (pH 7.0) or alkalinised (pH 8.0) diluent (Lake’s formula with 300 mg / 100 ml of citric acid added) before being incubated for 30 min (21°C).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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