Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 387–396

Environmental Contaminants in White-Winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica asiatica) from the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, USA


    • Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research InstituteTexas A&M University-Kingsville
    • Department of ZoologyMichigan State University
  • Alan M. Fedynich
    • Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research InstituteTexas A&M University-Kingsville
  • Steve Benn
    • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Larisa Ford
    • US Fish and Wildlife ServiceTexas A&M University at Corpus Christi

DOI: 10.1007/s00244-008-9274-7

Cite this article as:
Fredricks, T.B., Fedynich, A.M., Benn, S. et al. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol (2009) 57: 387. doi:10.1007/s00244-008-9274-7


Our study determined if white-winged doves (WWDs; Zenaida asiatica asiatica) breeding in locations where environmentally persistent contaminants occur in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas have levels of contaminants that can hinder reproduction. During summer 2003, 70 (32 males, 38 females) adult WWDs were collected from 8 at-risk sites. Liver tissues were analyzed for ten major and trace elements and muscle tissues were analyzed for 20 organochlorine compounds, 21 polychlorinated biphenyl congeners, and toxaphene. Samples were compared to ten (five male, five female) captive-raised control WWDs. Arsenic, chromium, and lead were not detected or were below the detection limit, whereas copper, zinc, selenium, mercury, nickel, cadmium, and silver were detected in 70 (100%), 70 (100%), 52 (74%), 21 (30%), 4 (6%), 1 (1%), and 1 (1%) WWDs, respectively. None of the detected elements had significant sampling site, bird gender, or Site × Gender interactions, and each occurred at background levels. Toxaphene and polychlorinated biphenyls were not detected, whereas DDE, dieldrin, γ-BHC, and chlordane were detected in 13 (19%), 5 (7%), 2 (3%), and 1 (1%) field-collected WWDs, respectively, but all concentrations occurred at background levels. Concentrations of elements and compounds in field-collected WWDs did not significantly differ from those of the controls. Correlations between leukocyte counts and detectable contaminants generally indicated no correlation between each percentage of leukocyte type present and levels of selenium, copper, zinc, mercury, or DDE detected. One sample that had 0.072 μg/g dieldrin exhibited a low lymphocyte percentage (66%) out of only five samples. Comparisons could not be made with γ-BHC, chlordane, or the other elements that had a low number of samples with detectable levels. Overall, concentrations of elements and organochlorines found in WWDs were below levels known to impair reproduction and survival in birds.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008