Volume 37 - N. 2
December 2013

Volume 37 - N. 2

  1. Recent tools for population abundance estimation adjustment and their use in long-term French red-legged partridge survey

    Jakob & Ponce-Boutin

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    22 102

    The consistency of population estimates is crucial for long term surveys, especially for conservation and management purposes, and particularly for game species as the red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa. Most monitoring programs simply assume that count indexes are proportionally related to abundance. However, this assumption cannot be made when detection varies spatially and temporally, as it is mostly the case. Advances of statistical tools allow now detection modeling using spatially and temporally repeated count data and lead to less-biased estimates than raw counts, and sometimes to less effort in the feld. In the future, they might become highly relevant for monitoring programs; however feld biologists might have to be trained or assisted for data modeling. We illustrate the case of the French survey of red-legged partridge populations (Alectoris rufa), the method being also used for the survey of a northern Italian population.

  2. Recent distribution of red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa in Piedmont (North Western Italy): signs of recent spreading

    Tizzani P., Boano G., Mosso M., Pelazza M., Carolfi S., Ferra M., Marletta N., Pio G., Pellegrino G., Meneguz P.G., Silvano F., Negri E., Spanò S.

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    30 71

    The red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa in Piedmont (NW Italy) is historically limited to the hilly and low-mountain areas of
    the southern half of the region, in particular lying in the Langhe and the Apennines on the Ligurian border, in the districts of Cuneo, Asti
    and Alessandria. In the Cuneo district, on the Maritime Alps, hybrid populations with Alectoris graeca were also known. The distribution
    of the species has been mapped in some occasions with the “Atlases” projects of the GPSO (Gruppo Piemontese Studi Ornitologici) and
    special enquiries. On this occasion we tried to update the geographical distribution of the species using data conferred by bird-watchers
    on www.regione.piemonte.it/aves/, managed by the GPSO, enquiries among hunters’ organizations and specifc feld researches. The resulting distribution is shown on a 10 km square grid. The species shows signs of distribution dynamism, with the occupation of some lowland areas, where it was totally absent until the ‘90s. A little range expansion is noticeable also in the Western Monferrato. The situation
    seems to be more stable (or even declining) in the Langhe area and the species is now disappeared from the alpine border. In general we
    are seeing an areal contraction or density reduction on hills and mountains and an extension on lowlands. The observed changes seem to
    be attributable mainly to environmental and climate changes.

  3. Survival and morphometrics of radiocollared wild and reared red-legged partridges Alectoris rufa in Pisa province (Tuscany, central Italy)

    Scarselli D., Vecchio G., Morelli M.B., Petrini R., Oliviero F., Fontanelli N., Canova C., Cozzi C., Mazzarone V.

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    24 60

    Small populations of red-legged partridge are present in Pisa province (Tuscany, central Italy) as a result of reintroductions
    carried out for hunting purposes. This two-years research aimed to the evaluation of some survival and behaviour parameters of wild and
    just released reared red-legged partridge through the use of radio-tracking. Wild partridges were studied in two protected areas; in February 2011, 26 individuals were captured and ftted with radiocollars. Reared partridges were released in July 2011, using acclimatization
    birdcages, in other three protected areas. In this case, 30 subjects were tagged with radiocollars. Wild partridges showed higher survival
    rate than reared partridges. Among the latter, dead individuals had higher weight and wing loading than alive birds. This effect was not
    observed for wild partridges. Reared partridges were less selective in habitat choice and they seemed to perform larger movements than
    wild individuals.

  4. Conservation status and hunting management of red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa in the Eastern Province of Genoa (Liguria Region, NW Italy)

    Ciuffardi L., Spanò S.

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    26 55

    Spring song census with playback technique in the years among 2006 and 2011 in two Provincial Conservation Areas (P.C.A.)
    and the monitoring of the hunting bags carried out during the seasons 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 gave the chance to evaluate the status
    of the populations of red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) in the territory at East of Genoa. In the two P.C.A. the densities of potential
    nesting pairs present average-low values, with a trend toward a worrying decline. Furthermore the monitoring of the bag put in evidence
    physical precarious condition of the wild specimens (low weight). The examination of data of shot partridges showed also the low performance of summer restocking with young individuals as regards the strengthening of natural stocks. Taking account of the collected data,
    it is sketched out that the conservation status of the natural populations of red-legged partridge in the study area is not satisfactory. This
    might be due to the falling of the environmental vocation for the species which characterised the evolution of territory in the last years.
    Furthermore, this indicates a low capacity of consolidation and restoration of natural stocks by introduced individuals.

  5. Is the red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa naturally colonising the north of Lazio region, Italy?

    Primi R., Serrani F., Viola P., Corsini A., La Bella M., Amici A.

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    25 67

    The present study aimed to update the distribution of the red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa in Central Italy, with particular
    reference to the northern Lazio Region. This species was introduced into the regions of Umbria, Lazio, Molise, and Toscana, where it
    has partially acclimatized. Several reports on the species’ presence and reproduction were reported from the northern Viterbo province,
    suggesting the necessity of a survey. Between 2010 and 2011, local people were interviewed (forestry agents, keepers, hunters and farmers), and a feld survey was performed utilizing detection signs of presence and playback counts. All data were recorded in a geodatabase.
    Signs were georeferenced in a grid of 3,864 territorial units (TUs; 1 km x 1 km). Red-legged partridges were found in 190 TUs (19,000 ha): brigades, composed by 6 individuals on average, within 31 TUs; breeding pairs within 31 TUs; single birds within 128 TUs. To confrm the presence of breeding pairs, a playback survey schedule was performed throughout the spring of 2011 in a random sample of cells (28.9% of the cells in which the presence of the species had been reported) along line transect of 118 km length in total. Playback survey confrmed the presence of 25 breeding pairs and 6 single individuals within 31 TUs. Because the province of Viterbo did not perform restocking of the species, the detected distribution appears to be caused by the natural expansion of populations from Toscana and Umbria regions. Further studies are currently in progress to better appreciate the population parameters.

  6. 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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    25 61

    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.

  7. Some differences in the breeding ecology of Alectoris and Perdix partridges and implications for the conservation of Alectoris: a review

    Potts G. R. (Dick)

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    23 90

    The main drivers of Perdix population dynamics are nest predation and the supply of insects determining chick survival rates.
    There is much less information about these factors in Alectoris but the position could be similar with nest predation clearly important and
    at least doubling the percentage of nests lost. Although insects comprise a smaller proportion of the diet of chicks in Alectoris, the number eaten is virtually the same as in Perdix. It is therefore to be hoped that future research focuses on these factors hitherto neglected in
    Alectoris, especially where an experimental approach can be taken.

  8. 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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    27 175

    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.

  9. Status of rock partridge Alectoris graeca in Lazio Region, Central Italian Apennine: six years of monitoring

    Amici A., Serrani F., Primi R., Adriani S., Viola P., Bonanni M.

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    25 62

    Data on the presence of the rock partridge were collected in suitable areas of Frosinone and Rieti provinces. The feld survey lasted from 2005 to 2011. Suitable areas were investigated with a pre-reproductive (playback) and post-reproductive (with the aid of
    pointing dogs) census. To avoid under- or double-counting, counts in adjacent areas were performed simultaneously by different teams of
    censors. Using the technique of playback in the province of Rieti, 153 territorial males were detected. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of territorial males intercepted varied between 4 and 33 per year. The estimated density in protected areas varied between 0.12 and
    0.62 territorial males per km-2 of area suitable for the species. The estimated density in the hunting areas ranged between 0.12 and 0.45
    territorial males per km-2 of area suitable for the species. In the province of Frosinone, 67 territorial males were counted. The estimated
    density on Private Hunting Farms bordering Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park varied from 0.58 to 0.73 territorial males per km-2
    of area suitable for the species. The estimated density in the hunting areas varied between 0.25 and 0.30 territorial males per km-2 of area
    suitable for the species. The density of rock partridge in the region was not quite as high. In the early survey years (2005/2007), we highlighted the limiting factors for the presence of rock partridge. This information allowed for the drafting of a specifc action plan for the
    conservation of the species.

  10. 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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    31 70

    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.

  11. Status of rock partridge Alectoris graeca saxatilis in Val Troncea Regional Park (Piedmont, north-west Italy)

    Maurino L., Probo M., Gorlier A., Lonati M.

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    28 70

    An eight-year monitoring (2004–2011) of rock partridge Alectoris graeca saxatilis was carried out in Val Troncea Regional Park (Piedmont, north-west Italy). Since 2004, standardized counts were performed by playback technique in order to check out rock partridge presence and spring density (males/surface) within an area of 500 ha. Since 2007, the reproductive success (chicks/adults) was assessed during August and September with pointing dogs within an area variable between 300 and 670 ha. From 2008 to 2011, both the spring density (from 2.3 to 1.2 males/100 ha) and the reproductive success (from 3.6 to 0.3 chicks/adults) decreased, indicating a marked decline in the rock partridge population which appeared to be highly related to an increase in yearly snow cover.

  12. Hunting and breeding success of rock partridge Alectoris graeca saxatilis on the Italian Alps (2006-2010)

    Artuso I.

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    18 103

    In the Italian Alps, in the 2006-2010 years, 4874 rock partridges have been hunted: the highest number in Sondrio province (733 animals), followed by the province of Torino (648), Como (639) and Cuneo (580). The other Italian provinces show lower numbers (less than 500), the lowest in Vicenza province (9). In almost all regions where this species is present, hunting is allowed. Hunting season occurred between October and November. In the Lombardia (2150, 44%) and Piemonte (1677, 34%) regions, the highest numbers of killed animals were recorded Thus, rock partridge seems to be concentrated in the central-Western Alps. In 2010, the mean young/adults ratio was 2.15 (minimum: 0.94, in Pordenone province; maximum: 7.21 in Como province), the mean number of young per brood was 4.35 (minimum: 3.8 in Bolzano province, maximum 5.39 in Bergamo province).

  13. Census of the Sicilian rock partridge Alectoris graeca whitakeri population in ZPS ITA010029 Monte Cofano, Capo San Vito and Monte Sparagio

    Mario Lo Valvo M., Sorace G., Giacalone G.

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    27 62

    During the project “LIFE09 NAT/IT/000099–SICALECONS–Urgent actions for the conservation of Alectoris graeca whitakeri”, this species was censused in the ZPS ITA010029 Monte Cofano, Capo San Vito and Monte Sparagio (Trapani province, Sicily)
    with playback technique between March and April 2011. Superimposing a UTM grid of 1 km mesh on the study area produced cells of
    100 hectares. Using a GPS satellite receiver we reached, where possible, the centre of each cell from where the cospecifc call was broadcasted. A total of 163 listening stations were implemented. Using software GIS ARCMAP 10.0 (ESRI) presence data were interpolated with vegetational and phytosociological maps (CORINE) to establish rock partridge’s suitable area. The range of the rock partridge in the
    ZPS was calculated to be 9,893 hectares, corresponding to approximately 65% of the ZPS. A total of 29 individuals were counted, corresponding to 5 pairs and 19 calling males.The Sicilian rock partridge population in the ZPS was estimated to be 66 pairs. Density values
    in the ZPS were lower than those reported for other areas. In the ZPS highest density was observed in Zingaro Reserve, where poaching
    seems to be less frequent compared to other areas of ZPS and where burning has not been recorded for years.

  14. Rock partridge Alectoris graeca in Lazio region (Central Italy): Status and Action Plan

    Sorace A., Guglielmi S., Properzi S., Riga F., Trocchi V., Scalisi M.

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    17 73

    Regional Agency for Parks (ARP) of Lazio region undertook an investigation on the conservation status and distribution of
    Alectoris graeca in the region to draw up the regional Action Plan for the species. In spring (March-June), surveys of rock partridge were
    conducted using playback technique in point-counts to obtain the density of rock partridge in each study area; in summer (end of August –
    early October), a survey was conducted with pointing dogs to establish the breeding success of the species. Data collected in spring were
    used to develop an habitat-suitability model following the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) technique. The spring and summer
    surveys highlighted an areale shrinkage of rock partridge in Latium where it is currently confned to some Apennine areas. In these areas
    rock partridge showed an overlall density of 0.86 pairs/km2. In summer, groups of rock partridge included, on average, 4.2 juveniles that
    is a quite low value as compared to the results obtained in other Italian areas. Habitat-suitability model indicates that in the region rock
    partridge prefers areas with meadow and pastures at high altitude, with quite steep slope, South exposure, rocks and cliffs. The Action
    Plan detected several actions which can produce positive effects for the conservation of the species.

  15. On the systematic status of the Cyrenaic Partridge (Alectoris barbata Reichenow, 1896)

    Spanò S., Pellegrino I., Borgo E.

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    19 119

    Some considerations on the morphological features that differentiate Alectoris barbara barbata by A. b. barbara are exposed and are also reported the results of a genetic investigation performed on historical specimens. Results showed a considerable genetic distance (0.60), certainly enough to consider it an ESU (Evolutionary Signifcant Unit), but most likely a separate species.

  16. Final pages (index of authors, CISO-day 2014)

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    24 53