Characteristics of black kite Milvus migrans  nest-trees in two Italian colonies

Zocchi A., Lacroix L., Bianchi M., Battisti C.

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Black kites often nest on trees, but little information is available on the characteristics of trees used for nest building. In this study we analysed several tree parameters that may affect tree choice, using data on 53 nests from two Italian colonies. Black kites preferred to build their nests on “chandelier type” branch platforms located at approximately 70% of relative tree height (i.e. regardless of the absolute tree height), and used stable trees, as evaluated using a stability index (tree diameter/tree height). In both study areas, oaks Quercus spp. appeared to be more likely to meet all these criteria, though nests were also located on other tree species with similar characteristics.