Seasonal Differences in Contaminant Accumulation in Neotropical Migrant and Resident Songbirds Academic Article uri icon


  • For many years, it has been hypothesized that Neotropical migrants breeding in the United States and Canada accumulate organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) while on their wintering grounds in Latin America. We investigated the seasonal accumulation of persistent organic pollutant (POPs) in migrant and resident passerines in Texas, Yucatán, and Costa Rica collected during the fall, winter, and spring from 2011 to 2013. A total of 153 birds were collected, and all contained detectable levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and OCPs with dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) being the most predominant pesticide. OCPs and PCBs were the predominant contaminants, accounting for ≥80 % of the total POPs burden, whereas PBDEs accounted for ≤16 %. Only spring migrants from Texas had significantly greater DDE concentrations (64.6 ng/g dry weight [dw]) than migrants collected in Costa Rica (23.2 ng/g dw). Resident birds in Texas had significantly greater levels of DDE (121 ng/g dw) and ΣPBDEs (34.8 ng/g dw) compared with residents in Yucatán and Costa Rica. For ΣPCBs, resident birds from Costa Rica had significantly lower concentrations (9.60 ng/g dw) compared with their migrant counterparts (43.7 ng/g dw) and residents from Texas (48.3 ng/g dw) and the Yucatán (32.1 ng/g dw). Migrant and resident passerines had similar congener profiles for PCBs and PBDEs suggesting similar exposure and retention of these contaminants. No significant accumulation of DDE was observed in migrants while on their wintering grounds. Relatively high concentrations of PBDEs in resident birds from Costa Rica warrant future studies of PBDE contamination in Latin America.

altmetric score

  • 2.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Maldonado, A. R., Mora, M. A., & Sericano, J. L.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Maldonado, Alejandra R||Mora, Miguel A||Sericano, José L

publication date

  • October 2016