The determinations of trace elements in tissues of herons are of great interest in order to evaluate environmental contamination.
As the herons are at the top of the food chain they tend to accumulate high concentrations of contaminants in their tissues.
Besides, the effects of pollution are also severe for this species, endangering the survival and reproduction of bird populations.
In the present study, concentrations of the trace elements Br, Co, Cs, Fe, Rb, Se, and Zn were determined in livers from Great
Egret (Ardea alba) species. The liver samples were those obtained from the adult specimens found dead in the metropolitan region of São Paulo,
SP, Brazil. The liver samples were ground, freeze-dried and the elements were determined by the method of neutron activation
analysis. The elemental concentration obtained in livers of these species showed wide variations depending on the element.
Comparisons made between our results with literature data indicated that element concentrations obtained for herons from metropolitan
region of São Paulo are higher or at the same order of magnitude of those obtained for specimens from polluted areas. Comparisons
made between the results obtained for different genders of herons by applying nonparametric Mann–Whitney U test at the significance level of 0.05 indicated that female herons present Co and Se concentrations lower than those from