PCR products of a fragment of the mitchondrial protein coding subunit 5 of NADH-dehydrogenase (ND5) from eight individuals representing five species of the South American bird genus Conirostrum were cloned. The 130 clones, which were subsequently sequenced, constituted 55 different sequences. Due to the observed differences in substitution patterns 58% of the cloned sequences were identified as pseudogenes. Recombination could be traced in 19% of the inferred nuclear pseudogenes, but this figure probably represents a Significant underestimation of the factual recombination events. The nonrecombined pseudogenes consisted of multiple haplotypes found to diverge from 1 to 16% from the mitochondrial gene. The number of mitochondrial nuclear copies and their apparent frequent recombination suggest that pseudogenes constitute a serious potential risk in confounding phylogenetic studies and population genetic analysis.