Analysis of breeding behaviour in Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus in a site of CentraI Italy

Pandolfi M., Rossana P. & d'Astore P.

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Abstract:

The breeding behaviour of Montagu's Harrier was studied in a pre-Apennine area (Marche, Centrai Italy). A group of 6 and 5 pairs was analysed in two successive breeding season. The most frequent pattem of courtship was Flight-play (67.9%; n=187). Cornrnunal soaring, not previously described in this species, was observed in ali breeding stages. Our observations confumed that the females were more aggressive than males over the whole breeding cycle (60.8%; n=115), and that the aggressivity of Montagu's Harrier towards other species, including birds of prey (40.3%; n=124) was scarce. Play behaviour among the young and an aerial "Food-pass exercises" by adult on young were observed. The frequency of Food-pass was analysed in alI breeding stages; it differed significantly in male on female interaction (P