Neonicotinoids have received a lot of attention in recent years because of their possible effects on bees and other invertebrates. Imidacloprid is the most widely used worldwide and has consistently been in the top 3 of pesticides that exceed the Dutch standard since 2003. In July 2014, a strong correlation was found between the decline of insectivorous birds and the concentrations of this neonicotinoid in surface water. However, the mechanisms behind this decline are still unknown. One hypothesis is that these systemic pesticides such as imidacloprid ensure that insectivorous birds do not have enough food or lower quality food to raise their young.

With this study we want to find out the mechanisms behind this correlation of pesticides and deterioration in birds, by using a ’cause-effect’ chain. This chain links pesticide concentrations to bird population dynamics through the availability of invertebrates and the bird’s food supply. Through the use of long-term data sets on bird demography and through data collection in the field (breeding biology and food supply of the birds, availability of invertebrates, pesticide concentrations), we aim to connect all links in this chain through a population model approach.


IWWR-RU, Sovon, Vogeltrekstation, Vogelbescherming Nederland

Aard- en Levenswetenschappen Open Programma – NWO