We evaluated the effects of Plasmodium relictum (lineage P-SGS1), which is a host generalist, to five species of passerine birds. Light infection of P. relictum was isolated from a naturally infected adult reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus. The parasites were inoculated to naive juveniles of the chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, common crossbill Loxia curvirostra, house sparrow Passer domesticus. siskin Spinus spinus and starling Sturnus vulgaris. Susceptibility of these birds to the infection of P. relictum was markedly different. This parasite developed in birds belonging to the Fringillidae and Passeridae but the starlings (Sturnidae) were resistant. Only 50% of experimental house sparrows were susceptible to the infection. The intensity of parasitemia varied markedly inside and between different susceptible bird species. There were no effects of the infection on body mass or temperature of experimentally infected birds. Infection of P. relictum leads to the significant decrease of haematocrit value and hypertrophy of spleen and liver in heavily infected common crossbills and siskins. This study shows that infection of the same lineage of P. relictum causes diseases of different severity in different avian hosts: that might have different evolutionary consequences and should be taken in consideration in conservation projects. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.