PMCCPMCCPMCC

Search tips
Search criteria 

Advanced

 
Logo of actavetsBioMed CentralBiomed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleActa Veterinaria Scandinavica
 
Acta Vet Scand. 2012; 54(1): 43.
Published online 2012 July 19. doi:  10.1186/1751-0147-54-43
PMCID: PMC3441360

Health status of seabirds and coastal birds found at the German North Sea coast

Abstract

Background

Systematic pathological investigations to assess the health status of seabirds and coastal birds in Germany were performed. The investigation was conducted to obtain data on possible causes of decline in seabird and coastal bird populations.

Methods

48 individuals of 11 different species of seabirds and coastal birds were collected by the stranding network along the entire German North Sea coast from 1997 to 2008, including mainly waders such as Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) and red knots (Calidris canutus) as well as seabirds such as northern fulmars (Fulmaris glacialis) and common scoters (Melanitta nigra).

For most birds (n = 31) found dead along the shore no obvious cause of death was evident, while 17 individuals were killed by collisions with lighthouses.

Results

Overall, the nutritional status of the investigated birds was very poor, and the body mass in most cases was significantly lower compared to masses of living birds caught during the same periods of the year. This is partly linked to chronic parasitic or bacterial infections in different organs or to septicaemia. In some cases infections with zoonotic tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium spp. were found. Avian influenza was not found in any of the collected birds.

Conclusion

The presented data contribute to the evaluation of the health status of birds in the German North Sea. Moreover, they present an important tool for the assessment of potential pathogens with an impact on the health status of seabirds and coastal birds.

Keywords: Seabirds, Coastal birds, Pathology, North Sea, German waters

Articles from Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central