High contamination of a sentinel vertebrate species by azoles in vineyards: a study of common blackbirds (Turdus merula) in multiple habitats in western France

Frédéric Angelier, Louise Prouteau, François Brischoux, Olivier Chastel, Marie-Hélène Devier, Karyn Le Menach, Stéphan Martin, Bertille Mohring, Patrick Pardon, Hélène Budzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Azoles represent the most used family of organic fungicides worldwide and they are used in agriculture to circumvent the detrimental impact of fungi on yields. Although it is known that these triazoles can contaminate the air, the soil, and the water, field data are currently and dramatically lacking to assess if, and to what extent, the use of triazoles could contaminate non-target wild vertebrate species, notably in agroecosystems. In this study, we aimed to document for the first time the degree of blood contamination of a generalist wild bird species by multiple azoles which are used for plant protection and fungi pest control in various habitats. We deployed passive air samplers and captured 118 Common blackbirds (Turdus merula) in an agroecosystem (vineyard), a protected forest, and a city in western France. We collected blood and analyzed the plasma levels of 13 triazoles and 2 imidazoles. We found that a significant percentage of blackbirds living in vineyards have extremely high plasma levels of multiple azoles (means (pg.g −1); tebuconazole: 149.23, difenoconazole: 44.27, fenbuconazole: 239.38, tetraconazole: 1194.16), while contamination was very limited in the blackbirds from the protected forest and absent in urban blackbirds. Interestingly, we also report that the contamination of blackbirds living in vineyard was especially high at the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer and this matches perfectly with the results from the passive air samplers (i.e., high levels of azoles in the air of vineyards during June and July). However, we did not find any correlation between the levels of plasma contamination by azoles and two simple integrative biomarkers of health (feather density and body condition) in this sentinel species. Future experimental studies are now needed to assess the potential sub-lethal effects of such levels of contamination on the physiology of non-target vertebrate species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120655
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Tebuconazole
  • Difenoconazole
  • Fenbuconazole
  • Tetraconazole
  • Agriculture
  • Wildlife


Dive into the research topics of 'High contamination of a sentinel vertebrate species by azoles in vineyards: a study of common blackbirds (Turdus merula) in multiple habitats in western France'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this