Effectiveness of censusing woodland birds of prey by playback

CERASOLI M. and PENTERIANI V.

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Abstract:

The use of tape-recorded calls, lO locate woodland birds of prey, and its results are illustrated. This method has been tested on: Buzzard Buteo buteo, 20 sites, Sparrowhawk , Accipiter nisus, IO sites, Goshawk , Accipiter gentilis, 9 sites, Honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus, 4 sites, Black kite, Milvus migrans, 3 sites, Red kite, Milvus milvus, 2 sites, Short-toed eagle, Circaetus gallicus, 2 sites and Hobby, Falco subbuteo, 2 sites. The responsiveness of raptors lO the playback is related to the diff~rent stages OL the breeding peri od (pre-laying, incubation, nestling). The best peri od was the pre-laying period, and then the nestling periodo Ali species showed a very low response to the playback during mcub.atlon and immediately following take-off. For Goshawk and Buzzard the most favourable period continued during the autumn, expecially in the late auturnn, when there is an intensive territori al activity, after the dispersal of the young which presumably marks the assertion of winter territories. This met~od represents a valuable tool for conducting specific research and surveys. It also perrruts the location of species which are difficult to identify during superficial or non-specific surveys (e.g. the Goshawk).