Volume 49, No. 2

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Diagnosis of hypothermia in seabirds from coastal California


1Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA (


ANDERSON, N. 2021. Diagnosis of hypothermia in seabirds from coastal California. Marine Ornithology 49: 343 - 347

Received 02 April 2021, accepted 09 August 2021

Date Published: 2021/10/15
Date Online: 2021/10/14
Key words: Hypothermia, cloacal temperature, near shore seabird, murre, grebe


This study established cloacal temperature (TCl) cut-off values to diagnose hypothermia in near shore seabirds rescued along the coast of California. All birds died when TCl was < 38.2 °C. When Aechmophorus grebes were excluded, 100% died when TCl was < 38.4 °C. Mortality increased 2-3× when TCl was lower than receiver operating curve-determined criteria for diagnosing hypothermia based on attitude: < 38.8 °C for mixed species, < 39.1 °C for Common Murres Uria aalge, and < 38.2 °C for Aechmophorus grebes. Reductions in TCl as small as 1.0 °C had significant physiologic effects.


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