Acquisition of a polybasic cleavage site (pCS) in the hemagglutinin (HA) is a prerequisite for the shift of low pathogenic (LP) avian influenza virus (AIV) to the highly pathogenic (HP) form in chickens. Whereas presence of a pCS is required for high pathogenicity, less is known about the effect of composition of pCS on virulence of AIV particularly H7N7. Here, we investigated the virulence of four avian H7N7 viruses after insertion of different naturally occurring pCS from two HPAIV H7N7 (designated pCSGE and pCSUK) or from H7N1 (pCSIT). In vitro, the different pCS motifs modulated viral replication and the HA cleavability independent on the HA background. However, in vivo, the level of virulence conferred by the different pCS varied significantly. Within the respective viral backgrounds viruses with pCSIT and pCSGE were more virulent than those coding for pCSUK. The latter showed also the most restricted spread in inoculated birds. Besides the pCS, other gene segments modulated virulence of these H7N7 viruses. Together, the specific composition of the pCS significantly influences virulence of H7N7 viruses. Eurasian LPAIV H7N7 may shift to high pathogenicity after acquisition of “specific” pCS motifs and/or other gene segments from HPAIV.