Concentrations of Metals in Feathers of Magpie (Pica pica) from Aran-O-Bidgol City in Central Iran

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2016 Apr;96(4):465-71. doi: 10.1007/s00128-016-1733-7. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


The present study aims to measure Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd concentrations in feathers of Magpies in urban areas to investigate the possibility of using Magpies to monitor metal contamination in urban areas. A total of 15 bird samples were collected in October 2013 from Aran-O-Bidgol City, in Central Iran and the concentration of metals were measured using a PerkinElmer ICP-OES. The average concentrations of Zn, Cu, Pb and Cd in the feathers were 167.16, 26.74, 9.29 and 1.583 µg/g dw, respectively. There were no significant differences in metal concentrations between various genders, ages and sites. However, the highest and lowest concentrations of non-essential elements were observed in the adult males and adult females, respectively. Significant correlations were observed between the concentrations of Cu and Zn as well as Pb and Cd. Moreover, wing length had the highest correlation with metals concentrations.

Keywords: Biomonitoring; Heavy metals; Iran; Magpie; Pica pica.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Feathers / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Passeriformes*
  • Sex Factors
  • Urbanization


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Metals, Heavy