Pesticide risk assessment for birds and mammals



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5.1.8 Robin Erithacus rubecula



General information

The robin is widespread and abundant all over the Zone, except in the northernmost parts. Its primary habitat is forest and woodland (coniferous, deciduous or mixed) but robins are also common in parks, gardens and other humanly managed and disturbed habitats (Snow & Perrins 1998), although not in the north (Finland). Population fluctuations, partly related to the winter temperatures, are not infrequent, but overall North European breeding populations seem to be largely stable (Table 5.).


Table 5.. Population size and trends of robin (breeding population) in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Sources: BirdLife International/European Bird Census Council (2000), BirdLife International (2004), Ottosson et al. (2012).

Country

Population size

(breeding pairs)



Year(s) of estimate

Trend

(1970 – 1990)



Trend

(1990 – 2000)



Denmark

200,000 – 300,000

2000

Fluctuating

Fluctuating

Estonia

250,000 – 500,000

1998

Stable

Stable

Finland

1,200,000 – 3,300,000

1998 – 2002

Fluctuating

Increase; 65 %

Latvia

700,000 – 1,000,000

1990 – 2000

Stable

Stable

Lithuania

800,000 – 1,500,000

1999 – 2001

Stable

Stable

Norway

500,000 – 1,500,000

1990 – 2002

Increase; 20–49 %

Stable

Sweden

3,800,000

2008

Stable

Decline; 20 %

Robins breeding within the Zone are generally migratory, but a minor part of the Danish, South Swedish and Norwegian populations stay in the area throughout the year, particularly in mild winters. Winter quarters are in W and SW Europe and NW Africa. The migrants arrive in late March and April and depart from mid-August to mid-November (Snow & Perrins 1998). Breeding is from late April to end of July in the south but does not start until mid- or late May in the northern part of the Zone. Usually double-brooded in the south and single-brooded in the north (Snow & Perrins 1998).


Agricultural association

Although robins are not infrequent in hedgerows and coverts in farmland, the species is not considered relevant for field crops due to its habitat preferences of forest, parks and gardens (Svensson et al. 1999, Larsen & Heldbjerg 2009).


The species is, however, fairly common in orchards and nurseries. In a study of orchards in the UK, 29 robins were radio-tracked to estimate the active time spent in this habitat (Crocker et al. 1998, Finch & Payne 2006, Prosser 2010). The results are summarized in Table 5..
Table 5.. Percentage of active time spent by radio-tagged robins in orchards in the UK, presented as 90th percentile of the modelled PT distribution. The birds were caught inside the orchard or along the orchard edge; it is therefore recommended to use the values for the total sample of tracked birds (bold).

Crop

Period

No. of birds

Mean

90 percentile

Reference

All birds:

Orchard

Apr – Sep

29

0.21

0.53

Finch & Payne 2006







29




0.51

Prosser 2010

Consumers only:

Orchard

Apr – Sep

24

0.25

0.56

Finch & Payne 2006







24




0.54

Prosser 2010


Body weight

Body weight ♂ mostly 15–21 g, ♀ 14–19 g (Snow & Perrins 1998). Mean body weight of the smaller sex (♀: 16.5 g) may be used for risk assessment.


Energy expenditure

No species specific data available, therefore calculated allometrically using the equation for passerine birds in accordance with the formula in Appendix G of the EFSA Guidance Document (EFSA 2009).


Diet

The diet during the breeding season consists of invertebrates both for adults and nestlings. Foraging is done mainly on ground living invertebrates, but robins sometimes take prey from branches or leaves. In a study between March-May of hedgerow inhabiting robins in northern Germany, faecal samples showed that Coleoptera constituted the main part of the diet (Table 5.). Other data from northern Europe are apparently not available.


Table 5.. Diet composition of adult robins in a hedgerow habitat (Grajetzky 1993).

Time of year

Food type

% of diet

March-May (n=445)

Coleoptera

61




Diptera

18




Diplopoda

6




Hymenoptera

5




Arachnida

4




Collembola/Others

6


Risk assessment

The robin is a relevant focal species in orchards (fruit trees), ornamentals and nursery cultures, as specified below:



  • Fruit trees: ground directed applications (herbicides)

  • Ornamentals and nursery: pre-emergence, small plants (all treatments), large plants (ground directed applications)

As a ground feeder, robin is particularly relevant for ground directed applications, including applications to small plants. For canopy directed applications blue tit is more worst case.


For all exposure scenarios the diet may be assumed to consist entirely of ground-dwelling invertebrates (PD = 1). No interception shall be taken into account for the above-mentioned scenarios.
PT may be refined using the information in Table 5..




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