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Focal bird species and risk assessment approach for nonagricultural grassland scenarios in Central Europe



The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guideline on risk assessment identifies pesticide exposure scenarios for nontarget wildlife; however, this scheme is not applicable to nonagricultural grassland. For example, different habitats and human utilization on golf courses attract bird communities that differ from those found in agricultural fields with annual crop cycles. The present study determined focal bird species for amenity grasslands such as golf courses following the EFSA guideline. Based on published data and bird surveys, a total of 102 species were found on 13 golf courses in Central Europe. Approximately 58% of the species were recorded on >20% of the golf course and were classified as focal species candidates. Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), common linnet (Carduelis cannabina), wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), white wagtail (Motacilla alba), and gray heron (Ardea cinerea) are the most adequate candidate focal species for exposure scenarios of carnivorous, granivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous, insectivorous, and piscivorous birds, respectively. Candidate species were verified on 3 golf courses in southwestern Germany in spring 2012. Observations on feeding behavior identified the main foraging areas of focal species. The results of the field work combined with data from the literature identified reliable exposure scenarios to assess the risk of pesticides to birds found on golf courses. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014; 33:2055–2061. © 2014 SETAC