Anticoagulant rodenticides in red kites (Milvus milvus) in Britain 2010 to 2015: a Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) report

Walker, L.A.; Chaplow, J.S.; Moeckel, C.; Pereira, M.G.; Potter, E.D.; Sainsbury, A.W.; Shore, R.F.. 2016 Anticoagulant rodenticides in red kites (Milvus milvus) in Britain 2010 to 2015: a Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) report. Lancaster, NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 14pp. (CEH Project no. C05191)

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The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS; is the umbrella project that encompasses the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s National Capability activities for contaminant monitoring and surveillance work on avian predators. The PBMS aims to detect and quantify current and emerging chemical threats to the environment and in particular to vertebrate wildlife. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) can be toxic to all mammals and birds. The PBMS together with other studies have shown that in Britain, there is widespread exposure to SGARs in a diverse range of predators of small mammals, including red kites (Milvus milvus) which will scavenge dead rats, a target species for rodent control. Defra’s Wildlife Incident Monitoring Scheme (WIIS) and the PBMS have shown that some mortalities result from this secondary exposure. The aims of the current study were to build on our earlier results by analysing liver SGAR residues in a further 24 red kites that had been submitted to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme between 2010 and 2015. We (i) assessed the scale and severity of exposure and, (ii) by combining the data with that from birds collected earlier (since 2006), we determined if age and sex affects the magnitude of liver SGARs residues accumulated in red kites. All of the 24 red kites contained detectable liver residues of one or more SGAR, and all but one bird (96%) contained residues of more than one SGAR. Difenacoum was detected most frequently (96% of birds) but bromadiolone and brodifacoum were both also detected in a large proportion of birds (83-88%). Most (approximately 75%) of the kites had sum SGAR livers concentrations >100 ng/g wet wt. and SGAR poisoning was likely to have been the cause of death in two birds. Relatively high liver SGAR residues were also detected in four other birds but they had external signs of trauma indicating they may have died from other causes. The monitoring of SGAR residues in red kites remains important contribution to our understanding of SGAR exposure in wildlife, particularly those issues related to scavenging species.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
Funders/Sponsors: NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Natural England, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Defra, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use
Additional Keywords: annual report, birds of prey, rodenticide, red kite, Milvus milvus, difenacoum, bromadiolone, brodifacoum, flocoumafen, difethialone, monitoring, United Kingdom (UK)
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 09 Dec 2016 14:48 +0 (UTC)

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