Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Baseline blood Pb levels of black-necked stilts on the upper Texas coast

January 1, 2015

There are no known biological requirements for lead (Pb), and elevated Pb levels in birds can cause a variety of sub-lethal effects and mortality. Historic and current levels of Pb in mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula) suggest that environmental sources of Pb remain available on the upper Texas coast. Because of potential risks of Pb exposure among coexisting marsh birds, black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) blood Pb concentrations were measured during the breeding season. Almost 80 % (n = 120) of 152 sampled stilts exceeded the background threshold (>20 μg/dL) for Pb exposure. However, blood Pb concentrations did not vary by age or gender, and toxic or potentially lethal concentrations were rare (<5 %). Consistent, low-level blood Pb concentrations of black-necked stilts in this study suggest the presence of readily bioavailable sources of Pb, although potential impacts on local stilt populations remain unclear.

Publication Year 2015
Title Baseline blood Pb levels of black-necked stilts on the upper Texas coast
DOI 10.1007/s00128-015-1616-3
Authors Thomas V. Riecke, Warren C. Conway, David A. Haukos, Jena A. Moon, Christopher E. Comer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Index ID 70173675
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta