Twelve white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla groenlandicus) found dead between 1997 and 2000 in Greenland were examined to investigate the health status, including the causes of death and the burden of organochlorine contaminants and potentially toxic heavy metals. The determined causes of death were unspecific trauma (n = 6), lead poisoning (n = 2) with 36 and 26 ppm lead in the liver tissue, infectious diseases (n = 1), injuries sustained during intraspecific conflict (n = 1), and gunshot (n = 1). One lead poisoned eagle had a single lead shot pellet in its gizzard. No diagnosis could be made in one case because of decomposition of the carcass. Four of the investigated eagles were injured with lead shot or bullet fragments; one of the birds was killed with about 69 lead shots. Levels of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, and cadmium in organs were moderate. The parasite fauna consisted of one coccidian and three helminth species. The acanthocephalas Profiliocollis botulus and Corynosoma suduche as well as the nematode Stegophorus stellaepolaris are all new records for the white-tailed sea eagle.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2