Spring arched migration of black kite Milvus migrans over the Apuane Alps (Tuscany)

Premuda G., Baghino L.

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Abstract:

The aim of this study is to analyse the migration flow of black kite Milvus migrans observed in Northwestern Italy. Observations were carried out on the western slopes of the Apuane Alps (Capriglia, Pietrasanta, Lucca, Tuscany), over the period 4 March - 1 April 2002-2011, where 189 black kites were recorded. Most black kites observed (N = 176, 93%) had a reversed direction of spring migration, from NW to SE. The regularly observed behaviour of black kites in the Apuane Alps and the positive correlation between the migration trends at the Apuane and Arenzano (Genoa) study sites show an arched migration strategy, performed probably by a small portion of the Central Italian population, which follows the coastline to avoid crossing the Mediterranean sea, and also suggests the occurrence of a spring circuitous migration, as has been documented in the short-toed eagle.