Donald  Brightsmith

Donald Brightsmith

Associate Professor
Veterinary Pathobiology

Phone: 979.458.0563
TAMU Mailstop: 4467

Research and Scholarly Interests

Avian health; avian ecology; geophagy (consumption of soil); avian conservation; disease threats from the live bird trade; diets of wild and captive exotic birds; role of infectious diseases in wild and endangered bird populations; captive avian enrichment. Specialization in psittacines (parrots, macaws, parakeets and allies).



  • Visiting Student, Oxford University, 1989
  • B.S., Cornell University, 1990
  • M.S., University of Arizona, 1993
  • Ph.D., Duke University, 1999

  • Environmental Health
  • Infectious Disease
  • Ecology

  • Su H, McKelvey J, Rollins D, Zhang M, Brightsmith DJ, Derr J, Zhang S (2014). Cultivable bacterial microbiota of northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus): a new reservoir of antimicrobial resistance? PLOS ONE. 6,
  • Cornejo J, Dierenfeld ES, Bailey CA, Brightsmith DJ (2013). Nutritional and physical characteristics of commercial hand-feeding formulas for parrots. ZOO BIOL. 5, 469-75
  • Cornejo J, Dierenfeld ES, Bailey CA, Brightsmith DJ (2012). Predicted metabolizable energy density and amino acid profile of the crop contents of free-living scarlet macaw chicks (Ara macao). J ANIM PHYSIOL ANIM NUTR (BERL). 6, 947-54
  • Reed, J. E., R. McCleery, N. J. Silvy, F. E. Smeins, and D. J. Brightsmith (2014). Monk parakeet nest-site selection of electric utility structures in Texas LANDSCAPING AND URBAN PLANNING.
  • Daugette KF, Hoppes S, Tizard I, Brightsmith D (2012). Positive reinforcement training facilitates the voluntary participation of laboratory macaws with veterinary procedures. J AVIAN MED SURG. 4, 248-54
  • Brightsmith DJ (2012). Nutritional levels of diets fed to captive Amazon parrots: does mixing seed, produce, and pellets provide a healthy diet? J AVIAN MED SURG. 3, 149-60
  • Xenoulis PG, Gray PL, Brightsmith D, Palculict B, Hoppes S, Steiner JM, Tizard I, Suchodolski JS (2010). Molecular characterization of the cloacal microbiota of wild and captive parrots. VET MICROBIOL. 3-4, 320-5
  • Brightsmith DJ, McDonald D, Matsafuji D, Bailey CA (2010). Nutritional content of the diets of free-living scarlet macaw chicks in southeastern Peru. J AVIAN MED SURG. 1, 9-23
  • Petzinger C, Heatley JJ, Cornejo J, Brightsmith DJ, Bauer JE (2010). Dietary modification of omega-3 fatty acids for birds with atherosclerosis. J AM VET MED ASSOC. 5, 523-8
  • White, T. H., N. J. Collar, R. J. Moorhouse, V. Sanz, E. D. Stolen, and D. J. Brightsmith (2013). Psittacine reintroductions and IUCN Guidelines - Response to Seddon BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION.
  • Olah G, Vigo G, Ortiz L, Rozsa L, Brightsmith DJ (2013). Philornis sp. bot fly larvae in free living scarlet macaw nestlings and a new technique for their extraction. VET PARASITOL. 1-2, 245-9
  • Halley, Y. A., S. E. Dowd, J. E. Decker, P. M. Seabury, E. Bhattarai, C. D. Johnson, D. Rollins, I. R. Tizard, D. J. Brightsmith, M. J. Peterson, J. F. Taylor, and C. M. Seabury (2014). A Draft De Novo Genome Assembly for the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) Reveals Evidence for a Rapid Decline in Effective Population Size Beginning in the Late Pleistocene PLOS ONE .
  • Lee, A. T. K., D. J. Brightsmith, M. P. N. Vargas, K. Q. Leon, A. J. R. Mejia, L. Y. Q. Huanca, A. K. Lee, and S. J. Marsden (2014). Diet and geophagy across a western Amazonian parrot assemblage BIOTROPICA.
  • Olah, G., G. Vigo, R. Heinsohn, and D. J. Brightsmith (2014). Nest site selection and efficacy of artificial nests for breeding success of Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) in lowland Peru JOURNAL OF NATURE CONSERVATION.
  • Cornejo, J., D. Richardson, J. G. Perez, D. J. Brightsmith, C. J. Bonar, and J. J. Heatley (2014). Hematologic and plasma biochemical reference values of the horned guan, Oreophasis derbianus JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE.
  • Cornejo, J., E. S. Dierenfeld, C. A. Bailey, and D. J. Brightsmith (2013). Nutritional and physical characteristics of commercial hand-feeding formulas for parrots.
  • Boyd, J. D. and D. J. Brightsmith (2013). Error properties of Argos satellite telemetry locations using least squares and Kalman filtering PLOS ONE.
  • Seabury, C. M., S. E. Dowd, P. M. Seabury, T. Raudsepp, D. J. Brightsmith, P. Liboriussen, Y. Halley, C. A. Fisher, E. Owens, G. Viswanathan, and I. R. Tizard (2013). A Multi-Platform Draft de novo Genome Assembly and Comparative Analysis for the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) PLOS ONE.
  • Torres-Sovero, C., H. Lloyd, and D. J. Brightsmith (2014). Uso de collpa y otras observaciones del maracana cabeciazul (Primolius couloni) en el sureste de Perú NEOTROPICAL ORNITHOLOGY.
  • Daut, E. F., D. J. Brightsmith, A. P. Mendoza, L. Puhakka, and M. J. Peterson. (2015). Illegal domestic bird trade and the role of export quotas in Peru JOURNAL FOR NATURE CONSERVATION.
  • Hoppes, S. M., J. D. Boyd, and D. J. Brightsmith (2015). Impact of Delayed Analysis in Avian Blood Biochemical Values Measured With the Abaxis VetScan VS2 JOURNAL OF AVIAN MEDICINE AND SURGERY.
  • Daut, E. F., D. J. Brightsmith, and M. J. Peterson. (2015). Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Combating Illegal Wildlife-Pet Trade in Peru JOURNAL OF NATURE CONSERVATION.
  • Olah, G., R. G. Heinsohn, J. R. Espinoza, D. J. Brightsmith, and R. Peakall (2015). An evaluation of primers for microsatellite markers in Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and their performance in a Peruvian wild population CONSERVATION GENETICS RESOURCES.
  • Olah, George, Butchart, Stuart HM, Symes, Andy, Guzmán, Iliana Medina, Cunningham, Ross, Brightsmith, Donald J, Heinsohn, Robert (2016). Ecological and socio-economic factors affecting extinction risk in parrots BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION. 2, 205-223
  • Peruffo, Lauren, Boyd, Janice D, Hoppes, Sharman, Brightsmith, Donald J (2016). Blood Biochemical Values of Wild Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao macao) Nestlings and Adults JOURNAL OF AVIAN MEDICINE AND SURGERY. 3, 227-236
  • Tayce, J., S. Burnham, G. Mays, J.C. Robles, D.J. Brightsmith, V. Fajt, and D. Posey (2016). Developing Cultural Competence through the Introduction of Medical Spanish into the Veterinary Curriculum JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EDUCATION.
  • Olah, George, Heinsohn, Robert G, Brightsmith, Donald J, Espinoza, Jose R, Peakall, Rod (2016). Validation of non-invasive genetic tagging in two large macaw species (Ara macao and A. chloropterus) of the Peruvian Amazon CONSERVATION GENETICS RESOURCES. 4, 499-509
  • Olah, George, Smith, Annabel L, Asner, Gregory P, Brightsmith, Donald J, Heinsohn, Robert G, Peakall, Rod (2017). Exploring dispersal barriers using landscape genetic resistance modelling in scarlet macaws of the Peruvian Amazon LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY. 2, 445-456
  • Brightsmith, Donald J, Cáceres, Aimy (2017). Parrots consume sodium‐rich palms in the sodium‐deprived landscape of the Western Amazon Basin BIOTROPICA.
  • Olah, George, Heinsohn, Robert G, Brightsmith, Donald J, Peakall, Rod (2017). The application of non-invasive genetic tagging reveals new insights into the clay lick use by macaws in the Peruvian Amazon CONSERVATION GENETICS., 1-10
  • Lee, Alan TK, Marsden, Stuart J, Tatum‐Hume, Emma, Brightsmith, Donald J (2017). The effects of tourist and boat traffic on parrot geophagy in lowland Peru BIOTROPICA. 5, 716-725
  • Berkunsky, I, Quillfeldt, P, Brightsmith, DJ, Abbud, MC, Aguilar, JMRE, Alemán-Zelaya, U, Aramburú, RM, Arias, A Arce, McNab, R Balas, Balsby, TJS (2017). Current threats faced by Neotropical parrot populations BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION., 278-287