Significance of Lead Residues in Mallard Tissues

Special Scientific Report -- Wildlife 182

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Tissues of adult, lead-dosed mallards that either died or were sacrificed were analyzed for lead. Lead levels in brains, tibiae, and breast muscle of ducks that died and in tibiae of ducks that were sacrificed increased significantly from dosage until death. Lead in the heart, lung, and blood from sacrificed ducks decreased significantly from dosage until death. Lead concentrations in tissues from ducks in the two groups were not significantly different except for the liver, kidney, and lung. Average lead levels in the livers and kidneys of ducks that died were significantly higher than those in ducks that were sacrificed. The mean concentration of lead in the lungs of the ducks sacrificed was significantly higher than the mean level in the lungs of ducks that died. Measurements of the lead concentrations in this study, when compared with lead levels reported in the literature for avian and non-avian species, showed that arbitrary diagnostic levels indicating lead poisoning could be set. In mallard ducks, lead levels exceeding 3 ppm in the brain, 6 to 20 ppm in the kidney or liver, or 10 ppm in clotted blood from the heart indicated acute exposure to lead.

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Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Significance of Lead Residues in Mallard Tissues
Series title:
Special Scientific Report -- Wildlife
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
iv, 24