Early View Articles

10 October 2022

Preliminary acoustic analyses of the structure of Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea (Scopoli, 1786) song samples from Northern Italy

Luca Baghino, Sauro Giannerini
The authors present an introductory piece of research concerning the acoustic analysis of a set of song samples of Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea from two regions of Northern Italy (Veneto, Liguria). By using an R package to analyze and find variations in the structure of the species' male songs, the count of the number of sound events detected, and the duration of pause event, show the most significant differences; moreover, the duration of signal events turns out to be different. The limited sample and the current lack of specific studies for comparison do not allow the authors to speculate whether the said variations are attributable to inter-individual variability or geographic isolation and habitat adaption: further research from wider geographic areas is no doubt needed, also using the methods we followed, to make the analysis replicable.
11 November 2022

Feeding and trophic strategy of the Hoopoe (Upupa epops, Linnaeus, 1758) in a Mediterranean area of Central Italy

Matteo Annessi, Alessio De Biase, Alessandro Montemaggiori
During the breeding season, the Hoopoe Upupa epops inhabits traditional and diversified rural habitats with high availability of bare ground and short grass areas where it forages. Only a few studies addressed the breeding diet of this species. Most of them were conducted in the intensively cultivated plains of southern Switzerland, where Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa represents the most common prey. In contrast, limited information is available for Mediterranean habitats. To fill this knowledge gap, we investigated the foraging behaviour of the species in a Mediterranean heterogeneous agricultural area in Central Italy during the 2020-2021 breeding seasons. 1123 prey items brought to the nest by adults were identified using camera traps positioned near four natural nests. Insect larvae constitute 84% of the diet, of which 61% are represented by Cicada orni nymphs. The importance of cicadas in the Hoopoe diet has been never described in the literature before. C. orni seems to substitute G. gryllotalpa in the more arid and hard soil of Mediterranean areas. The observed provisioning rate to clutches showed a maximum daily mean of over 14 prey per hour. To investigate Hoopoe foraging micro-habitat selection, six different microhabitat variables were measured at 64 1 m2 plots located at an equal number of foraging and random control points, by using a grid of 100 squares (10x10 cm each). Habitat selection analysis indicates that short herbaceous sward and low herbaceous cover are the fundamental factors driving foraging microhabitat selection. Our study contributed to enhancing the limited knowledge of the Hoopoe diet and foraging ecology in Mediterranean habitats and demonstrates, for the first time, the importance of Cicada orni nymphs in the diet of the species in this biogeographical region.