Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 16, pp 15568–15576 | Cite as

Incidences of mortality of Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus due to pesticide poisoning in India and accumulation pattern of chlorinated pesticides in tissues of the same species collected from Ahmedabad and Coimbatore

  • Kanthan Nambirajan
  • Subramanian Muralidharan
  • Subbian Manonmani
  • Venkatachalam Kirubhanandhini
  • Kitusamy Ganesan
Research Article


Incidences of mortality of Indian peafowl Pavo cristatus, the national bird (Schedule I Indian Wild Life Protection Act 1972), are rampant in India. Between January 2011 and March 2017, around 550 peafowl in 35 incidences were reported dead across the country. Due to the non-availability of fresh carcases, poisoning could not be confirmed. Birds which died due to kite string injuries in Ahmedabad (15) and accidents in Coimbatore (5) were tested for residues of chlorinated pesticides, namely hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), endosulfan, heptachlor, dicofol, dieldrin and cholipyrifos. The liver, kidney and muscle were the tissues considered to document pesticide load. Total load ranged from BDL to 388.2 ng/g. DDT (95%) and HCH (80%) were detected more frequently. DDT (40%) and endosulfan (26%) contributed maximum to the total pesticide load followed by HCH (21%). Pesticide accumulation pattern among the organs was in the order of liver (123.9 ng/g) > kidney (91.9 ng/g) > muscle (19.5 ng/g) with significant difference (p < 0.05). Peafowl from Ahmedabad had significantly (p < 0.05) higher level of total pesticide (149.0 ng/g) than birds from Coimbatore (47.8 ng/g). Although varying levels of chlorinated pesticide were detected, they were below reported toxic limits. Nevertheless, persistence of chlorinated pesticides and poisoning due to modern pesticides across the entire distribution range of Peafowl in India is a cause for concern.


Peafowl Pavo cristatus Pesticide poisoning Organochlorine pesticides 



We gratefully acknowledge the forest departments of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for granting permission to collect peafowl samples and Mr Kartik Shastri and Dr Shashikant Shivaji Jadhav, Jivdaya Charitable Trust, Ahmedabad, for their help in sample collection. We express our sincere gratitude to the Director, SACON, for the support, Drs R Jayakumar and Dhananjayan for their help in statistical analyses and Mr T Manikandan for his assistance in the laboratory.


We thank the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, for the financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1750_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kanthan Nambirajan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Subramanian Muralidharan
    • 1
  • Subbian Manonmani
    • 2
  • Venkatachalam Kirubhanandhini
    • 1
  • Kitusamy Ganesan
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of EcotoxicologySálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryPSG College of Arts and ScienceCoimbatoreIndia

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