Seabirds have been widely used for monitoring the health of the oceans in diverse marine regions. Among low-cost survey strategies, systematic surveys of seabirds beached on coasts have been developed since the 20th century. However, these studies do not always address blood aspects. The assessment of the health status of birds based on the analysis of hematological and plasma chemistry is crucial to evaluate the overall health status profile of live organisms. Here, the authors study the variability of blood parameters by sex, age class, and year of beached Magellanic Penguin during the nonreproductive period in northern Argentina. Of 44 penguins, 77% were categorized as younger juveniles and the rest as older juveniles, and were captured and studied in coastal areas of Buenos Aires Province during the summers of 2017 and 2018. The mean body weight of beached penguins was affected by the age class of the individuals; most of the younger juveniles showed poor condition in terms of body mass (1,761 ± 235 g). No significant differences were observed in body weight between years and sex. Still, there were significant differences between years for alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) values. Twelve of the 20 blood parameters analyzed differ significantly with the age class of the beached penguins; younger juveniles were in a state of inanition. Our results may serve as a necessary first step in improving the conservation status of the Magellanic Penguin in nonbreeding grounds of Argentina, and call for a better knowledge of the health status of the species along its annual cycle.
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