Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

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Populations of common insectivorous birds like starlings and barnswallows are declining in farmland areas with high levels of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. This is shown by an analysis of detailed data on local bird population trends and environmental factors, which include imidacloprid concentrations in surface water. This is the first study that correlates imidacloprid to possible indirect harmful effects – via the food chain – for vertebrates. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in agricultural systems around the world.