What are the mechanisms determining the rate of animal aging? Of the two major classes of endothermic animals, bird species are strikingly long-lived compared to mammals of similar body size and metabolic rate. Thus, they are ideal models to identify longevity-related characteristics not linked to body size or low metabolic rates. Since oxidative stress seems to be related to the basic aging process, we measured specific markers of different kinds of oxidative damage to proteins, like glutamic and aminoadipic semialdehydes (GSA and AASA, specific protein carbonyls), Nɛ-(carboxyethyl)lysine (CEL), Nɛ-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), and Nɛ-(malondialdehyde)lysine (MDAL), as well as mitochondrial Complex I content and amino acid and membrane fatty acyl composition, in the brain of short-lived mice (maximum life span [MLSP] 3.5 years) compared with those of long-lived budgerigar ‘parakeets’ (MLSP, 21 years) and canaries (MLSP, 24 years). The brains of both bird species had significantly lower levels of compounds formed as a result of oxidative (GSA and AASA), glycoxidative (CEL and CML), and lipoxidative (CML and MDAL) protein modifications, as well as a lower levels of mitochondrial complex I protein. Although it is known that fatty acid unsaturation is lower in many tissues of long-lived compared to short-lived mammals, this is not true in the particular case of brain. In agreement with this, we also found that the brain tissue of bugerigars and canaries contains no fewer double bonds than that of mice. Amino acid composition analyses revealed that bird proteins have a significantly lower content of His, Leu and Phe, as well as, interestingly, of methionine, whereas Asp, Glu, Ala, Val, and Lys contents were higher than in the mammals. These results, together with those previously described in other tissues of pigeons (MLSP, 35 years) compared to rats (MLSP, 4 years), indicate that oxidative damage to proteins, lipids and mitochondrial DNA are lower in birds (very long-lived species) than in short-lived mammals of similar body size. The lower degree of oxidative modification of bird brain proteins was not due to decreases in the target amino acids (lysine for CEL, CML, MDAL, and AASA; and arg and pro for GSA), since these were present in bird brain proteins at higher or similar levels than in those of mice. These results are consistent with the possibility that decreases in oxidative protein modification are caused at least in part by the low rate of mitochondrial oxygen radical generation in these birds, as in all long-lived homeothermic vertebrates investigated so far.