Interspecific and locational differences in heavy metal levels in four species of birds near Sydney, Australia

Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the levels of cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, and selenium in four species of birds near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in January, 1996. Molted contour feathers were collected from silver gull, Larus novaehollandie (Royal National Park and downtown Sydney), sulphur-crested cockatoo, Cacatua sulphurea (Blue Mountains, Royal National Park, and Sydney), Australian white ibis, Threskiornis molucca (Sydney), and rock dove Columba livia (Royal National Park and Sydney). We tested the null hypothesis that there were no species or locational differences in metal levels. There were significant species differences in all metals, with rock doves having the highest levels of cadmium, chromium, lead, and manganese, and silver gulls having the highest levels of mercury and selenium. Metal levels were generally low in cockatoos, and were lowest in those from the Royal National Park. For silver gulls, cadmium, lead, and chromium levels were highest at Sydney, and there were no locational differences in manganese, mercury, and selenium levels. For rock doves, cadmium, chromium and manganese were higher in Sydney, and there were no locational differences in lead, mercury, and selenium. Overall, cadmium and chromium levels were significantly higher in Sydney than in the Royal National Park for all species, and there were no locational differences in mercury levels. Although the levels of most metals in feathers from these Australian birds were within the ranges reported worldwide, lead levels in ibises and rock doves were among the highest reported worldwide, suggesting a cause for concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-119
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental monitoring and assessment
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Keywords

  • Australia
  • Interspecific differences
  • Lead
  • Metals

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