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

  • Timothy B. Fredricks
  • Alan M. Fedynich
  • Steve Benn
  • Larisa Ford


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.



Funding for this research was provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with proceeds from the white-winged dove hunting stamp. The authors thank Jaclyn Canas, Ed Scollon, George Cobb, and Gopal Coimbatore for assistance with analytical method development and elements analyses. This is manuscript No. 08-125 of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Mention or use of any trademarked products is not to be considered an endorsement of such by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy B. Fredricks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alan M. Fedynich
    • 1
  • Steve Benn
    • 3
  • Larisa Ford
    • 4
  1. 1.Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research InstituteTexas A&M University-KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3. Texas Parks and Wildlife DepartmentEdinburgUSA
  4. 4.US Fish and Wildlife ServiceTexas A&M University at Corpus ChristiCorpus ChristiUSA

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