Volume 37 - N. 1
June 2013

Avocetta
Volume 37 - N. 1



  1. Raptor migration in Greece: a review

    Panuccio M., Agostini N., Barboutis C.

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    Greece is located at the southernmost end of the Balkan Peninsula and the shortest distance between Greece and north Africa is roughly 280 km. As raptors mostly fly over land exploiting thermal currents, the ecological barrier shaped by the Mediterranean Sea south of Greece, has a strong impact on the migration strategy adopted by each species. Using data from recent studies at three watchsites in Greece (island of Antikythira, Mount Olympus, National Park of Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli) we discuss the migratory behaviour of some selected species. The three commonest species were the Eurasian marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus, the western honey buzzard Pernis apivorus and the short-toed snake eagle Circaetus gallicus. The first migrates on a broad front over the sea. A similar migration strategy is adopted also by the Eleonora’s falcon Falco eleonorae. The western honey buzzard performs a loop migration strategy concentrating over the island of Antikythira in autumn but bypassing it in spring. The short-toed snake eagle, on the other hand, avoids the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea performing a long detour and crosses the sea at the Bosphorus. Observations suggest that the levant sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes and the lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina adopt a similar strategy. Finally, species such as the common buzzard Buteo buteo and the sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus do not cross the Mediterranean Sea but move across Greece to winter in southern Greece.

  2. Ageing and sexing of the snow finch Montifringilla nivalis by the pattern of primary coverts

    Strinella E., C arlo Catoni C., De Faveri A. , Artese C.

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    We provide here new methods of sexing and ageing the snow finch
    Montifringilla nivalis
    , a bird localised on Palaearctic
    mountain ranges. Between 2003 and 2009 we caught, ringed, measured and took pictures of 108 individuals in order to study the devel-
    opment of plumage among different age and sex classes. In particular we focused on the pattern of primary coverts (PC), to test whether
    they provide a reliable character for sexing and ageing snow finches. In general males had smaller black markings than females, and older
    individuals smaller than younger. Juvenile females had completely black PCs, while males of the same age had a little white patch on the
    inner PCs. This provide a reliable character to sex even fledging or nestlings of snow finches. Males in second plumage were very similar
    to older females, but when they could be sexed with other methods, then the pattern of PCs could be used to reliably age almost all indi

    viduals up to third plumage, with only few intermediates that should be left undetermined.

  3. L’ortolano Emberiza hortulana nella Regione Marche: analisi della distribuzione e preferenze ambientali

    Pruscini F., Morelli F., Perna P., Felicetti N. , Santolini R.

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    The Ortolan bunting Emberiza hortulana is one of many species of passerines in great decline in most of Europe. Even in Italy, the species is considered to be in decline, for this reason it is protected for conservation purposes, although it still not appear to be at risk. However, recent studies have shown an increase of breeding pairs in the central eastern portion of the Italian peninsula. In the Marche Region a study was conducted, through the implementation of 2100 points counts, with the aim of verifying the actual presence of Ortolan bunting and study their habitat preferences. The species was found to be moderately widespread, being present in 11.5% of the total point counts monitored. The species presence was correlated positively with farmlands and shrubs, but it seems avoid urban structures like roads and buildings.

  4. Effects of landscape-scale factors on goshawk Accipiter gentilis arrigonii distribution in Sardinia

    Londi G., Cutini S. , Campedelli T. , Tellini Florenzano G.

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    The Northern goshawk is a widespread and well-studied species, but few data concern the ecology of the corso-sardinian goshawk Accipiter gentilis arrigonii , which is endemic of Corsica and Sardinia. We studied the breeding habitat selection of the goshawk at landscape scale using MaxEnt, a presence-only modelling method. Working with 37 goshawk localizations, we built three single models, at 10, 30 and 50 km
    2 scale, and a mixed model, combining variables at different scales. The latter results the best one (AUC=0.866). The woodland variables are the most important factors (about 2/3 of percent contribution in the model) and they seem to act at the minimum scale (10 km2): the woodland area (>200 m from the forest edge) is the most important variable and it has a positive effect, as well as the broadleaved forest and the coniferous forest, even if the latter only if present in small amount (<0.02 km2 ). At broader scales (30 and 50 km2) the goshawk seems to be sensitive to human disturbance avoiding plains (where there is the highest level of human activity) and urban areas, including small and sparse settlements. The surface of open land <200 m from forest edge, which is a goshawk hunting habitat, has a low weight but a positive effect at scale of 50 km2.

  5. First description of red-backed shrike Lanius collurio food caching in Central Italy: prey’s type and spatial position into the larders

    Morelli F., Saltarelli M., Pruscini F. , Benedetti Y.

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    The food storage and the use of impaling or wedging the preys in larders is a typical behaviour of true shrikes. In this study we present the preliminary results about this behaviour of red-backed shrikes in Central Italy, where this behaviour was rarely recorded. We focused on the larders description, prey composition and spatial pattern of prey fixation in the larder. Our results are the first data about this particular behaviour in Italy since 1933 and highlighted the importance that it could have also as signalling function of territoriality.
    Our results showed that the main vegetal support used was Prunus spinosa L., used also for impale the heavier prey (micromammals, rep-
    tiles and birds). The invertebrate constituted 78% of items in the larders, with vertebrate prey in the rest. The height from ground where
    prey is impaled was correlated with shrub height, but the concealment level was independent from prey type.

  6. Il grado di specializzazione delle specie di Picidae, Turdidae, Paridae, Fringillidae ed Emberizidae censite nell’Atlante degli Uccelli della provincia di Trento (Italy)

    Caldonazzi M.

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    The degree of specialization of the species “Picidae, Turdidae, Paridae, Fringillidae Emberizidae” registered in the nesting and wintering bird atlas of the province of Trento (Italy). The environmental and altitudinal data of the species of birds belonging to the families Picidae, Turdidae, Paridae, Fringillidae e Emberizidae are analysed. They have been counted in the Atlas of breeding and wintering birds in the province of Trento (1986-1995, with updating in 2003), in order to quantify the level of specialization of each of them.

  7. Hunting effects on Bird communities: the case of the province of Perugia

    Velatta F.

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    This study aims to verify if there can be differences between protected and free hunting areas as regards bird populations, tak-
    ing into account the whole provincial territory of Perugia. Starting from a sample of 1266 points visited from year 2000 to year 2005 both
    in winter and in spring, 137 couples of points were individuated, each of them representing a point belonging to the protected territory
    and another belonging to the non-protected territory. The two groups of points (protected and non-protected) were compared according
    to the following parameters, calculated on a seasonal scale: species richness, total abundance, abundance of each species, abundance of
    some superspecific
    taxa
    , rarity index (Blana 1980). In winter, both species richness and total abundance were significantly greater within
    protected areas, the same showing a markedly higher value of the rarity index; significantly higher abundance values within protected
    stations were observed for 4 superspecific groups (Phasianidae, Falconiformes,
    Turdus
    , Corvidae) and for 10 species; only one superspe-
    cific group (Alaudidae) and 3 species were significantly more abundant within non-protected areas. In spring, no significant differences
    emerged between protected and non-protected areas in terms of richness, abundance and rarity index; only one superspecific group (Pha

    sianidae) and 9 species came out to be significantly more abundant within the protected territory, 6 species within the free hunting area.
    The analysis undertaken reveals how during shooting season the hunting activity limits the settlement of the potential bird communities.

  8. Early laying of kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus along the seacoast of Senigallia (Central Italy)

    Morganti N., Mencarelli M. , Morici F., Sebastianelli C.

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    In Italy the kentish plover generally nests from April to May, with cases of egg laying also in March. In the breeding season 2011, during the survey of the nesting population of Senigallia (Marche) we observed a nest on 18th February. According to bibliographical and unpublished data, this seems to be the earliest date of egg laying in Italy and probably in Europe

  9. First breeding attempt of spectacled warbler Sylvia conspicillata in the Italian Alps

    Assandri G.

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    On 30.06.2012 the author found a territorial male spectacled warbler Sylvia conspicillata at Collombardo (1860-1900 m a.s.l., Graie Alps, Piedmont, NW Italy). This bird was regularly observed singing till 21.07.2012 and once seen carrying nest material into a bush. No others individuals were observed in the area. The site is an abandoned pasture characterized by a low shrub layer (50-60 cm) of species belonging to RhododendroVaccinion alliance and by a taller layer (2 m) dominated by Alnus viridis. The area has a NE exposure and lacks of xerothermic features. Mean July temperature is 15.5 ± 0.3 °C, much lower than the 23 ºC generally considered as the northern thermal limit for the spectacled warbler. In Italy this species breeds in Mediterranean area up to the latitude of Bologna and is very rarely observed further north: this note reports the first breeding attempt ever observed in the Italian Alps.

  10. Commissione Ornitologica Italiana (COI) – Report 25

    Janni O., Fracasso G.

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    Italian Ornithological Commission (Italian Rarities Committee) – Report 25.
    The following records were accepted for Italy (Cat. AERC: A – COI List 1A, 1B):
    Yellow-billed Loon Gavia adamsii (Veneto 2012; 7th record);
    Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus (Sicily 2011; first record for Italy);
    Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii (Tuscany 2011; 5th record);
    White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis (Emilia-Romagna 2011; first record for Italy);
    Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (Apulia 2011; 7th record);
    Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda (Lombardy 2011; 10th record);
    Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (Apulia 2011; 9th record);
    Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor (Sardinia 2012; 4th record);
    Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini (Piedmont 2011; 7th record);
    Ross’s Gull Rhodostethia rosea (Apulia 2012; 3rdrecord);
    Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis (Sicily 2010; 2ndrecord);
    Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus (two records: Sicily 2011; 13th – 14th records);
    Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni (four records: Sicily 2011; 7th – 10th records);
    Moussier’s Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri (two records: Sicily 2010-2011; 7th – 8th records);
    Western
    Olivaceous
    Warbler
    Hippolais opaca
    (Latium
    2011; 5
    th
    record);
    Eastern
    Orphean
    Warbler
    Sylvia crassirostris
    (Apulia 2010; 2
    nd
    record);Tristram’s Warbler
    Sylvia deserticola
    (Sicily
    2011; first record for Italy); Radde’s
    Warbler
    Phylloscopus schwarzi
    (two records:
    Latium
    2011, Sardinia
    2011; 9
    th
    – 10
    th
    records);
    Dusky Warbler
    Phylloscopus fuscatus
    (Latium
    2011; 7
    th
    record);
    Iberian
    Chiffchaff
    Phyl

    loscopus ibericus
    (Sicily 2011; 2
    nd
    record); Mugimaki Flycatcher
    Ficedula mugimaki
    (Lombardy
    2011; first record for Italy); (Desert
    Grey Shrike
    Lanius [meridionalis?] elegans
    (Sicily 2011; 6
    th
    record,
    accepted
    only at the subspecies
    level, pending
    a wider consensus
    on the taxonomy of the group
    L. excubitor
    /
    meridionalis
    /
    elegans
    ); Yellow-breasted Bunting
    Emberiza aureola
    (Sicily 2011; 25
    th
    record).
    The following records were not accepted (identification proved; escaped from captivity; Cat. AERC: E – COI List 3A, 3B):
    Hooded Mer-
    ganser
    Lophodytes cucullatus
    (Trentino-Alto Adige 2011); Sudan Golden Sparrow
    Passer luteus
    (Sicily 2012).
    The following records were not accepted (insufficient documentation, COI List 5A)
    :
    Levant
    Sparrowhawk
    Accipiter brevipes
    (Trentino-
    Alto Adige 2011); Dupont’s
    Lark
    Chersophilus duponti
    (Latium
    2012); Desert Lesser Whitethroat
    Sylvia [curruca]minula/halimodendri
    (Sicily 2011);
    Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax (Latium
    2011);
    Iberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus ibericus (Latium 2011);
    Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera (Abruzzi 2012).