The interest in experimental studies on avian malaria caused by Plasmodium species has increased recently due to the need of direct information about host-parasite interactions. Numerous important issues (host susceptibility, development of infection, the resistance and tolerance to avian malaria) can be answered using experimental infections. However, specificity of genetically different lineages of malaria parasites and their isolates is largely unknown. This study reviews recent experimental studies and offers additional data about susceptibility of birds to several widespread cytochrome b (cyt b) lineages of Plasmodium species belonging to four subgenera. We exposed two domesticated avian hosts (canaries Serinus canaria and ducklings Anas platyrhynchos) and also 16 species of common wild European birds to malaria infections by intramuscular injection of infected blood and then tested them by microscopic examination and PCR-based methods. Our study confirms former field and experimental observations about low specificity and wide host-range of Plasmodium relictum (lineages SGS1 and GRW11) and P. circumflexum (lineage TURDUS1) belonging to the subgenera Haemamoeba and Giovannolaia, respectively. However, the specificity of different lineages and isolates of the same parasite lineage differed between species of exposed hosts. Several tested Novyella lineages were species specific, with a few cases of successful development in experimentally exposed birds. The majority of reported cases of mortality and high parasitaemia were observed during parasite co-infections. Canaries were susceptible mainly for the species of Haemamoeba and Giovannolaia, but were refractory to the majority of Novyella isolates. Ducklings were susceptible to three malaria infections (SGS1, TURDUS1 and COLL4), but parasitaemia was light (<0.01%) and transient in all exposed birds. This study provides novel information about susceptibility of avian hosts to a wide array of malaria parasite lineages, outlining directions for future experimental research on various aspects of biology and epidemiology of avian malaria.