The aim of this study was to evaluate the accumulation of toxic (As, Cd and Pb) and essential (Cu, Mn and Zn) metals in samples (feathers, liver, kidney, lung, intestine and muscle) of common buzzards (Buteo buteo) from Sicily, used as bio-indicators for monitoring environmental metals pollution. All samples of buzzards were collected at the “Recovery Center of Wild Fauna” of Palermo, through the Zooprophilactic Institute. The quantitative determinations of metals were carried out using an atomic absorbtion spectrophotometer (AAS). The results obtained showed the presence of metals in all samples analyzed. For toxic metals the highest levels of Pb and As were found in liver and those of Cd in kidney; for essential metals Zn levels were higher than Cu and Mn in all tissues analyzed. Significant differences are observed in metal levels between female and male and juvenile and adult bird samples. Highest metal levels found in liver, kidney and muscle can be considered indicative of chronic exposure to metals while the presence of metals in feathers can be consequential to storing and elimination processes. The results obtained suggest that common buzzards (Buteo buteo) may be very useful as bio-indicators for monitoring environmental pollution.
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