High pathogenicity islands (HPIs) in Escherichia coli encode genes that are primarily involved in iron uptake and regulation, and confer virulence and pathogenicity. The aim of this study was to investigate the transfer of HPIs in avian E. coli and identify the function of HPI in the acceptor strain. The HPI transfer strain was obtained under conditions of low temperature and low iron abundance, and the donor and acceptor strains were confirmed. E. coli HPIs are transferred by horizontal gene transfer events, which are likely mediated primarily by homologous recombination in HPI-adjacent sequences. Assays for biological activity and pathogenicity changes in the acceptor strain indicated that HPIs might not be involved in pathogenesis in avian E. coli, and thus the main function of HPIs in this strain of bacteria may be to regulate iron nutrition.