Status and distribution of rock partridge Alectoris graeca in Apennine areas

Sorace A., Artese C., Antonucci A., bernoni M., Bonani M. , Brusaferro A., Carafa M., Carotenuto L., Cortone P., De Filippo G., De Santis E.S8, Forconi P., Fabrizio M., Fulco E., S Guglielmi S., Latini R., Liberatoccioli E., Magrini M., Mangiacotti M., Mariani F., Pellegrini M., Peria E., Pinchiurri V., Properzi S., Riga F., Scalisi M., Spera M., Trocchi V.

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Scarce information is available on the current status of Apennine populations of Alectoris graeca. In this paper, data on recent distribution of the species in each Apennine region and data on census in several Apennine areas are reported. In Marche region, the size of population was estimated in 110-137 pairs and maximum density (1.25 pairs/ km2) was observed in M. Sibillini National Park. In Umbria region, the size of population was estimated in 9-23 pairs. In Lazio region, the size of population was estimated in 171-342 pairs and the highest densities were recorded in the Reatini Mountains (2.02 pairs/ km2) and in ‘Montagne della Duchessa’ natural Reserve (1.90 pairs/ km2). In Abruzzo-Molise regions, the size of population was estimated in 1500-1700 pairs and highest regional densities were recorded in the Maiella National Park (4.2 pairs/ km2) and Velino Sirente Regional Park (2.10 pairs/ km2). In Campania region, the specie was present only in Cilento e Vallo di Diano National Park, where the size of regional population was estimated in 84 pairs. In Basilicata-Calabria regions, population was estimated in 55-120 pairs. The Apennine population of rock partridge was evaluated in 1939-2436 pairs. The distribution of rock partridge showed that many Apennine, pre-Apennine and anti-Apennine areas, apparently suitable for the species, were not occupied. Factors limiting the expansion and the growth of populations of rock partridge in Apennine areas are highlighted. A correct management of populations of Abruzzo region, in particular of local hunting pressure, plays a pivotal role for the conservation of Apennine rock partridge.