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European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 31–34 | Cite as

Incidence of ingested lead gunshot in wild grey partridges (Perdix perdix) from the UK

  • G. R. Potts
Original Paper

Abstract

From 1947 to 1992, successive pathologists at The Game Conservancy Trust carried out 1,318 post-mortems on adult wild grey partridges found dead in the UK. During a study of chick food from 1968 to 1978 on the Sussex Downs, the gizzards of 29 wild chicks aged up to 6 weeks were also examined. This paper reports the incidence of lead gunshot ingestion in these two groups of birds. On the assumption that there is no temporal bias, the incidence of lead poisoning increased from 1947–1958 to 1963–1992. During 1963–1992, the incidence of lead gunshot ingestion was 4.5±1.0% in adults and 6.9±4.7% in chicks. The weights of individual lead shot in the chick gizzards showed a rapid rate of erosion, indicating a short retention time in the gizzard, as also reported for adult waterfowl and game birds. The incidence rates in grey partridge and waterfowl found dead can therefore be compared. From 1963 to 1992, the overall incidence of ingested lead gunshot in the grey partridge in the UK was 52% of that of waterfowl (Anatidae excluding mute swan), significantly lower.

Keywords

Partridge Perdix perdix Lead gunshot Lead poisoning 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study would have been impossible without the work of the late Dr Phyllis Clapham and her successors and it is a pleasure to acknowledge their work. I am grateful for the help of Clive Lachlan, Nicholas Aebisher and David Butler in the preparation of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Game Conservancy TrustFordingbridgeUK

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