Samples of liver and kidney from 92 seabirds of ten species collected on Spitsbergen and in the Antarctic, were analysed for their content of copper, zinc, cadmium, lead, mercury and selenium. Significantly higher levels of copper and zinc were observed in birds from Spitsbergen than in those from the Antarctic, while the opposite was true for selenium. The highest cadmium levels were found in fulmar Fulmarus glacialis and macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus. A possibility of kidney damage due to cadmium exists. The highest mercury levels were recorded in brown skua Catharacta lonnbergi collected at Bouvetøya. Lead was not detected in any of the birds. Significant correlations were observed between levels of several of the metals studied, especially between cadminum and zinc and between mercury and selenium. However, for all birds, the highest correlation coefficients were observed when the molar concentrations of cadmium plus mercury, and selenium plus zinc, were used in the calculations. Thus several protective mechanisms may operate to diminish effects of heavy metal contaminants.