The impact of pesticides on birds: a case study on Great Bustard (Otis tarda L.)

Authors: J. HELLMICH

Published: Volume 39(2), December 1992. Pages 7-22.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Impacto del uso de pesticidas sobre las aves: el caso de la avutarda

Keywords: Birds, breedind success, conservation, Great Bustard, insecticides, locust pest, Malathion and pesticides.


This paper studies the effects of Malathion on the Great Bustard -an insecticide used to fight the locust Dociosfounrs moroccanu (Acrididae. 0rthoptera)- at Sierra de Fuentes (Cáceres, Extremadura). There is a general coincidente between the areas where Malathion is sprayed and those selected bv ihe Great Bustard population for breeding. Some observations show that the bustard flocks leave the intmsively treated areas. In those areas the average arihropod biomass ir of 2.08 g/IW m2. againsat 7.85 g m not sprayed areas. Some data from Germany point out that al least 9 g/100 m2 are required as to assure a normal growth in the first days of life of ihe chicks. Therefore, (he spraying of Malathion results in a sudden fall of the focd supply, which certainly must affect in a negative way the survival possibilities of (he Great Busmrd chicks. The effects should be speciallv harmful if soravina takes place between 20 April and 1 June. It agrees with that the observahon of average famiiy which are smaller in years of early spraying. In addition, many kinds of inconections were regislered along the locust control campaign of 1990. It is wncluded that this kind of camapaigns should onlv be allowed if there is evidence of the gregarious locust phase being present. and when the expected economic damaged surpass the costs of the campaigns. On the other hand, the sprayings should only be made on foot -not by plane-, on very limited locations, and only before the 20th of March, as to avoid the interference with courtship and nesting.

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