ABSTRACT

Although abnormal or injured legs are not uncommon in Hydrobatidae, they are rarely investigated. We aimed in this study to estimate the frequency of leg abnormalities and determine health status (expressed by leucocyte profile) in molecularly sexed European Storm-Petrels (Hydrobates p. pelagicus) captured on the Faroe Islands. We found that 2.4% of individuals captured during the breding season had some leg abnormalities. Half of the birds with abnormalities had puffinosis-like changes, while the rest were missing some part of the leg. Both types of abnormalities were recorded in the two sexes with similar frequency. The proportion of the birds with leg abnormalities seems to be relatively low compared to other Procellariiformes, and stable over time. Despite the apparent disability of the birds with leg abnormalities, we found no significant effect of abnormality status on the leucocyte profile.

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