Turkish Journal of Zoology




Haliaeetus albicilla is a top raptor that can be used as a model for contaminants transfer in trophic chain. In this study we studied the accumulation of three contaminants on feathers from breeding individuals of white-tailed sea-eagle collected between 2012 and 2018 in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and its surroundings. The concentrations of two heavy metals (chromium, cadmium) and one metalloid (arsenic) were determined by inductively coupled mass spectrometry. Chromium concentrations ranged from 0.32 to 1.33 mg/kg for juveniles and between 0.68 to 2.92 mg/kg in the case of adult birds. Cadmium concentrations in juveniles were between 0.007 to 0.098 mg/kg and in adults it was between 0.036 to 0.105 mg/kg. Arsenic concentrations in young birds ranged from 0.17 to 1.80 mg/kg, while in adults it was between 0.57 and 1.97 mg/kg. In general the concentrations of the three elements are smaller in the study area compared with other areas. Our research showed important intraspecific differences. Thus juveniles had smaller concentrations of chromium and arsenic compared to adults. We suggest that the juveniles are better indicators for pollutans in the study area as they are feed from local sources, compared with the adult birds that in the winter period use other areas for hunting.


Raptor, heavy metals, feathers, wetland

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