We present results on the presence of neonicotinoid residues in blood samples of a long-distant migratory food-specialist raptor, the European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Further, we investigate the spatial relationship between neonicotinoid residue prevalence in honey buzzards with that of crop fields where neonicotinoids are typically used. A majority of all blood samples contained neonicotinoids, thiacloprid accounting for most of the prevalence. While neonicotinoid residues were detected in both adults and nestlings, the methodological limit of quantification was exceeded only in nestlings. Neonicotinoids were present in all sampled nests. Neonicotinoid presence in honey buzzard nestlings' blood matched spatially with the presence of oilseed plant fields. These are the first observations of neonicotinoids in a diurnal raptor. For better understanding the potential negative sub-lethal of neonicotinoids in wild vertebrates, new (experimental) studies are needed.
Source: Patrik Byholm et al. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 639, 15 October 2018, Pages 929–933