Lead (Pb) poisoning has been found to be a serious problem for waterfowl in some southern European countries, but few studies have been conducted in Spain. In order to obtain these data, studies were made in the Ebro delta, a Spanish Ramsar site, during 1992 and 1993. Lead shot densities in the first 20 cm of sediment ranged from < 8900 to 2,661,000 shot ha-1. A similar proportion of birds had lead shot in the gizzard and elevated liver lead (> 5 μg g-1 DW) concentrations. Northern pintail and common pochard (both with declining populations in Europe) showed the highest levels of shot ingestion, with 70.8 and 69.2%, respectively. Body condition index in the northern pintail was negatively correlated with the number of pellets in the gizzard and liver Pb concentration. Levels of exposure were higher than in other northern countries of the western Palearctic flyway, where lead shot have been banned recently.
- Lead pellets
- Lead poisoning