Influence of weather-climate conditions on the breeding success of rock partridge Alectoris graeca in a population of the western Alps

Giordano O., Ficetto G., Tizzani P.

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The reproductive success of rock partridge Alectoris graeca is likely to be influenced by weather events, intense rainfalls and temperatures, which may occur during the reproductive period. On this basis we compared the data obtained from the count of rock partridge, made through the use of pointer dogs in an area of the Southern Alpes (Alpi Cozie, Varaita Valley, CN), with data recorded by automatic monitoring meteorological stations of the regional network. In particular we took into account data, from 2000 to 2010, on meteorological parameters such as number of days of rain, intensity of individual rainfall events, number of consecutive days of uninterrupted rain and average temperature, minimum and maximum, recorded during the reproductive season (from the second half of May to the first half of August) in order to evaluate their impact on both eggs and chicks. As for the demographic parameters measured during the summer counts, the number and consistency of broods counted and the ratio of young/adult (reproductive success) were taken into account. The purpose of this paper is therefore to evaluate the relationship among climate parameters and reproductive success. The results show that climatic conditions that occur during the reproductive season are crucial in the reproductive success. The climatic parameter that showed the strongest negative correlation with the reproductive index (R.I.) proved to be the maximum accumulation for single rainfall event in the second half of July.