Hepatic mixed function oxidase activities were estimated in seawater-adapted mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) that had been consuming food contaminated with one of five different types of crude oil. After 50 days of exposure to contaminated food, enzyme activities of liver microsomal preparations were assessed in terms of their naphthalenemetabolizing properties in vitro. Although dose-dependent increases in the total hepatic enzyme activities (nmole naphthalene metabolized per minute per unit mass body weight) were observed in birds consuming food contaminated with each type of crude oil, three patterns of response were apparent. Crude oils from South Louisiana and Kuwait stimulated large and significant increases in the specific activity of the enzyme system (nmole naphthalene metabolized per minute per unit mass microsomal protein), whereas little or no increase in either microsomal protein content or relative liver weight were observed. In contrast, two crude oils from Santa Barbara, Calif., induced only small increases in specific activity but significant increases occurred in hepatic microsomal protein concentration and relative liver weight. The crude oil from Prudhoe Bay, Ala., evoked intermediate patterns of response. The possible significance of these data is discussed in relation to the survival of seabirds consuming petroleum-contaminated food and drinking water.