The stimulatory and inhibitory effects of dopamine (DA) upon avian prolactin (PRL) secretion suggest that, in birds, these actions are mediated by multiple DA receptors. To test this hypothesis, combined intracranial infusions of DA and selective D1 or D2 DA receptor blockers, plus electrical stimulation (ES) of the brain and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) immunoneutralization, were used to characterize the actions of DA on PRL secretion in the turkey. Blockade of D1 DA receptors prevented the increase in circulating PRL observed in response to infusion of stimulatory concentrations of DA or to ES. Stimulatory infusions of DA also failed to increase circulating PRL in birds immunized against VIP. Results from infusion of the D2 DA receptor antagonist were unclear. Low concentrations had no effect, while the highest concentration (100 nmol/min) produced an increase in plasma PRL. At the high concentration the drug may be affecting PRL secretion by (1) acting nonspecifically, (2) acting as a partial DA agonist on D1 DA receptors, or (3) diffusion to the pituitary and blockade of D2 receptors there. These data suggest that avian PRL secretion is mediated by D1 DA receptors within the brain and that the stimulatory effect of DA upon PRL secretion requires an intact VIPergic system.