1. 1. A recently published method for measuring human haemoglobin based on alkaline haematin (Zander et al., Clin. chem. Acta 136, 83-93, 1984) has been adopted for bird samples. 2. 2. The new method yields comparable haemoglobin values with that of a previously used alkaline haematin method. 3. 3. Levels of haemoglobin estimated using alkaline haematin were higher than for cyanhaemiglobin, the reference method for human haemoglobin. This difference is due to the loss of haemoglobin in the cyanhaemiglobin procedure due to insolubility. 4. 4. The values for haemoglobin found by the alkaline haematin method did not vary significantly between a range of bird species. 5. 5. The method overcomes some important deficiencies of the cyanhaemiglobin method, in particular, problems of turbidity and quality control assessment. © 1987.