Tests are being carried out by health officials in Ethiopia on hundreds of dead pigeons for possible bird flu.
It is feared that migratory birds could carry the virus to Africa
Agriculture ministry official Seleshi Zewdie said the dead birds had been discovered in the eastern Somali region and near the capital, Addis Ababa.
Mr Seleshi said test results were expected next week.
He said reports of the dead pigeons over the past two weeks showed that the early warning system established by the government was working.
There have been no confirmed cases of bird flu in Africa, but Ethiopia and other east African countries are considered at risk as millions of migratory birds fly there during the European winter.
"We have to investigate, we cannot exclude bird flu until the investigations are completed," he told the AFP news agency.
"We are on alert because of the risk of bird flu."