Explicit nation-wide habitat models for Italian larks(Alaudidae)

Londi G., Mini L., Tellini Florenzano G., Sorace A., Campedelli T.

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The aim of this paper is to assess the effect of broad-scale environmental and geographical variables on the distribution of Italian breeding larks (Alaudidae). Using the data of MITO2000 (2000-2003), logistic regression models were built, relating speciespresence with the area occupied by Corine land-use categories, habitat diversity, morphological and elevation-range variables, latitude and longitude. In all models, except for that of Calandra Lark, geographical variables were included and, in particular, latitude seems the most important. The steppic nature of Alaudidae is underlined by their negative response to environmental diversity (for Calandra and Crested Lark) and to woodland (for Crested Lark and Skylark); the Woodlark, on the contrary, shows a preference for heterogeneous landscapes. Large scale assessment of species ecology, besides assessing habitat suitability at large-scale level, give some basic insight about the ecology of the species.