Heavy metals in livers of raptors from Eastern Poland – the importance of diet composition

Ignacy Kitowski, Agnieszka Sujak, Dariusz Wiącek, Wacław Strobel, Andrzej Komosa, Marcin Stobiński


Concentrations of Pb, Cd, Ni, Cr and Hg were determined in livers of six species of raptors collected in the area of Eastern Poland. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that elevated Hg and Cr concentrations were directly related to feeding on passerines. Raptors that specialised in seizing small mammals as a source of food revealed higher hepatic concentrations of Pb and Cd in comparison with other raptors. Unlike Cd, we found statistically significant differences in the Pb concentrations in livers of Common buzzards as compared to Sparrowhawks. In spite of the fact that both Goshawks and Sparrowhawks hunt birds, only the latter species had accumulated significantly more mercury. The high concentrations of Hg in Sparrowhawks could be related to the use of mercury in antifungal substances for seed dressing.


raptors; liver; heavy metals; lead bullets

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26496/bjz.2016.34


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