HTRA1, a member of the high temperature requirement factor A family, is a secreted serine protease that can bind to and inactivate members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) family, modulate insulin-like growth factor signaling and stimulate long range fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling in Xenopus. In vertebrates, so far homologues from mouse, human, and Xenopus have been cloned and studied. Here we report the cloning of the chicken HTRA1 homologue from a screen for FGF8 inducible genes in chick facial mesenchyme. We characterize its expression pattern from gastrulation (Hamburger and Hamilton stage 4) to day 4 of development, and in forming inner organs and limbs. We show that chick HTRA1 has a dynamic expression pattern that differs significantly from the expression of its mouse homolog. We, furthermore, demonstrate that FGF signaling is necessary and sufficient for HTRA1 expression in chick facial and forelimb mesenchyme, but is not required for HTRA1 expression in HH11 embryos.