The clapper rail (Rallus crepitans) is native to salt marshes along the eastern United States. Populations are likely stable, but may be at risk due to the degradation of wetland habitat by contaminants. Contaminants can cause adverse effects in birds such as alteration of immune and reproductive function, and previous studies have used this species as a sentinel for estuarine health. Blood samples were collected from clapper rails in Florida and hematology counts, plasma biochemistry panels, and metal assessments using inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry were performed. Biochemical and hematology data were too limited to determine if contaminants were adversely affecting clapper rails in this study, but cadmium, lead, and zinc were increased for several birds. Although contaminant levels were not consistently elevated for all birds, additional research is needed to assess if clapper rails in this region are at risk of contaminant exposure due to increasing urbanization and development pressures.
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