Ecotoxicological suitability of floodplain habitats in the Netherlands for the little owl (Athene noctua vidalli)

N.W. van den Brink, N.M. Groen, J. de Jonge, A.T.C. Bosveld

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    This study describes the actual risks of exposure to contaminants, which little owls (Athene noctua vidalli) face in Dutch river floodplains. The results indicate that PCBs pose a risk: not only are levels in little owls from floodplains higher than levels found in little owls from a reference site but the PCB patterns in owls from the floodplains also indicate induction of hepatic cytochrome P450 enzymes by dioxin like compounds, possibly PCBs. Of the heavy metals, only cadmium is thought to pose a risk in certain conditions, for example, when little owls are feeding only on earthworms over a prolonged period of time. The results do not indicate any effects on the occurrence of prey items of the little owl like for instance earthworm, beetles and shrews. Hence, it is not expected that little owls will be affected by diminishing prey availability due to contamination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)127-134
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • terns sterna-hirundo
    • polychlorinated-biphenyls
    • lumbricus-terrestris
    • metal contamination
    • eisenia-foetida
    • heavy-metal
    • toxicity
    • feathers
    • organochlorine
    • accumulation

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