Grit Use by Birds

A Review
  • James P. Gionfriddo
  • Louis B. Best
Part of the Current Ornithology book series (CUOR, volume 15)


The importance of grit in avian digestion has been recognized for at least two centuries (Spallanzani, 1783 [cited in Westerskov, 1965]). Grit is in the gizzards of most birds that eat plant parts (Meinertzhagen, 1964; Farner, 1960) and of many that eat invertebrates (Mayoh and Zach, 1986; Barrentine, 1980; Peterson and Ellarson, 1977; Jenkinson and Mengel, 1970; Barlow et al., 1963). Many studies have shown that, among avian species that use grit, most individuals have grit in their gizzards (Table I).


Lead Poisoning House Sparrow Hard Seed Lead Shot Domestic Chick 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. Gionfriddo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louis B. Best
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.LivermoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Animal EcologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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