, Volume 166, Issue 1-4, pp 371-377
Date: 28 May 2009

Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Little egret (Egretta garzetta) as monitors of mercury contamination in Shadegan Wetlands of south-western Iran

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Abstract

Mercury concentrations in feather, liver, kidney, and muscle tissue of Little egret (n = 8) and Cattle egret (n = 3) from Shadegan Wetlands in south-western Iran were examined. Liver of Little egret had significantly higher mercury compared to Cattle egret (p < 0.05). In addition, mercury values were consistently larger in Little egret when compared to Cattle egret, but mercury levels found in feather, kidney, and muscle did not differ statistically between the two bird species (p > 0.05). The small Cattle egret sample size, however, makes it difficult to conclude that the same trend would persist had we been able to include more Cattle egrets in this study. An interesting regional comparison between mercury concentrations in the feather of Little egret chicks, from China, Hong Kong, and Pakistan, and adult Little egrets, from Shadegan wetlands, revealed higher mercury in the adult of the species, as one would expect. Conversely, feathers of adult Cattle egrets form Shadegan had less mercury than values reported for young birds of the same species from Aswan in Egypt; but our Cattle egrets had higher or similar mercury concentrations to Cattle egrets from Pakistan, New York, Delaware, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, and Cairo in Egypt.