The enzymatic nature of 5'-monodeiodination (5'-D) in avian liver homogenates was demonstrated by abolishment of activity by iopanoic acid (IOP). T3 production from T4 was dependent on enzyme and substrate concentrations, incubation time, incubation temperature, and pH. Two pathways of 5'-D activity were present in avian liver and exhibited characteristics similar to those described in mammalian tissues. Type II activity was identified as propylthiouracil (PTU)-insensitive activity. Type I (PTU-sensitive) was determined by difference between Total and Type II. Km values were 1.58 microM T4 for Total activity and 0.90 nM T4 for Type II, corresponding to the characteristics of the mammalian pathways. The effects of goitrogens on avian hepatic 5'-D were equivalent to those reported for the mammalian enzyme.