A microplate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detecting antibodies to avian leukosis virus (ALV) of subgroups A and B in infected chickens was developed with the use of Rous-associated virus (RAV)-1 (subgroup A) and RAV-2 (subgroup B) antigens purified by sucrose-gradient centrifugation. The antigen was used for ELISA after treatment with Triton X-100. In the ELISA, the subgroup viral antigen reacted strongly with homologous antiserum but also reacted with heterologous antiserum. Tests with serum absorbed with purified homologous and heterologous virus and tests for antigen-blocking by group-specific antibodies to ALV revealed that the reaction was caused mainly by subgroup-specific antibodies. The ELISA was 8 to 32 times more sensitive than the virus-neutralization (VN) test and detected antibodies to ALV earlier than the VN test in chickens infected experimentally with RAV-1 and RAV-2. In field application of the ELISA, 44.2% of 484 chicken sera were positive for RAV-1 and/or RAV-2 antigen, and 80.4% of flocks were positive. These findings indicate that ELISA is superior to the VN test in sensitivity, simplicity, rapidity, and applicability for large-scale field surveys for ALV infection.