Characterization of grit in arable birds to improve pesticide risk assessment

R. Luttik, G.R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


To describe the grit in bird gizzards, we examined the gizzard content of some 200 birds of varying size and diet (e.g., granivores and nongranivores). Grit use (frequency, size, amount, and shape) was characterized for 27 bird species that forage, at least part of the year, on arable land in the Netherlands. Three different groups could be recognized: the nongranivores with predominantly small “grit” particles (the result of inadvertent ingesting soil while foraging), the granivores with larger grit particles (the result of intentionally selecting soil particles), and the group in between (omnivores), which shows features of both other groups. Sample calculations made in this article show a probability of 3–277 in 1000 times for unintentionally consuming one granule. Therefore, attention should also be paid to nongranivorous birds when assessing the hazard or risk of the use of granular pesticide formulations. A risk assessment model is presented in the Appendix.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-329
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • cornfield birds
  • consumption
  • ingestion
  • wildlife
  • granules
  • tests


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