Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus rufinus breedingdistribution and abundance in Cyprus

Kassinis N.

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Abstract:

his paper presents the 2005 population survey for the Long-Legged Buzzard in Cyprus. It gives information on occupied territories, and on aspects of the species’ breeding biology. Censuses were carried out from January to March 2005. 34 pairs (occupied territories) were recorded, 79% of which were in the south-southwestern part of Cyprus. 22 confrmed nests were found, 3 of which were abandoned during incubation. On average, 2.3 + 0.7 chicks / successful nest fledged from 14 closely monitored nests. Average distance from the nearest occupied nest site was 5.5 + 2.7 km (N = 28 sites) whereas average nesting density was 1 pair/7.3 km² (19 pairs). Nesting period (from nest building to fledging) started during the last 2 weeks of February for the early nesters and ended around the 15th of June when the last chicks fledged. In the vicinity of 7 successful nesting sites we spotted 2 active Bonelli’s Eagle eyries, closer than 1.5 km, and 5 Peregrine pairs nesting in neighboring cliffs. Garbage was commonly used as nesting material. Preliminary pellet and prey remain analysis showed that mainly rodents (mainly Black Rat) and, to a secondary degree, reptiles (Starred Agama and Persian Large Whip Snake) were the raptor’s major preys. The Long-legged Buzzard in Cyprus shows increasing population trend. Poisoning, countryside housing development, road construction, disturbance at nest sites and shooting are limiting factors for the further expansion of the species.