The potential for investigating immune gene diversity has been greatly enhanced by recent advances in sequencing power. In this study, variation at two categories of avian immune genes with differing functional roles, pathogen detection and mediation of immune mechanisms, was examined using high-throughput sequencing. TLRs identify and alert the immune system by detecting molecular motifs that are conserved among pathogenic microorganisms, whereas cytokines act as mediators of resulting inflammation and immunity. Nine genes from each class were resequenced in a panel of domestic chickens and wild jungle fowl (JF). Tests on population-wide genetic variation between the gene classes indicated that allele frequency spectra at each group were distinctive. TLRs showed evidence pointing toward directional selection, whereas cytokines had signals more suggestive of frequency-dependent selection. This difference persisted between the distributions considering only coding sites, suggesting functional relevance. The unique patterns of variation at each gene class may be constrained by their different functional roles in the immune response. TLRs identify a relatively limited number of exogeneous pathogenic-related patterns and would be required to adapt quickly in response to evolving novel microbes encountered in new environmental niches. In contrast, cytokines interact with many molecules in mediating the power of immune mechanisms, and accordingly respond to the selective stimuli of many infectious diseases. Analyses also indicated that a general pattern of high variability has been enhanced by widespread genetic exchange between chicken and red JF, and possibly between chicken and gray JF at TLR1LA and TLR2A.