Alectoris rufa sightings outside its traditional distribution area in Piedmont

Lasagna A., Tizzani P., Audino G., Castello A., Meneguz P.G.

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During spring counts of rock partridge Alectoris graeca carried out in three Piedmont valleys at an altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,200 meters a.s.l., some individuals were identifed from phenotypical features as red–legged partridge Alectoris rufa. In order to understand the possible reasons underling these observations, we analyzed the available sources of information on A. rufa presence and restocking operations in Piedmont region. We used the following databases: I) wildlife management plans; II) unoffcial verbal reports; III) offcial species range; IV) animals delivered to regional control points for hunted wildlife. The results of our analysis were the following: I) no offcial data about release of A. rufa are present in our study area; II) no documented overlap between the areal of the two species is reported (except for a narrow area in the Southern part of Maritime French Alps), III) the presence of A. rufa individuals is probably due to illegal restocking operations. The impact of A. rufa presence on populations of A. graeca is discussed.