Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Blood serum chemistry of wild Alaskan Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) with avian keratin disorder

October 1, 2016

We measured serum chemistries in wild Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) from Alaska to test for potential differences associated with beak deformities characteristic of avian keratin disorder. Lower uric acid in affected birds was the only difference detected between groups, although sample sizes were small. This difference could be associated with fasting or malnutrition in birds with beak deformities, but it is challenging to interpret its biologic significance without reference values. Black-capped Chickadees had high levels of aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, and creatine kinase relative to reference values for companion birds. However, all serum chemistry parameters from our study were within the range of values reported from other apparently healthy wild-caught birds.