Volume 46 - N. 2
December 2022

Volume 46 - N. 2
Volume 46, Issue 2, December 2022

  1. Cover page - Issue 46.2 (full size) photo by Roman Bühler

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

  2. Editorial - Italy at a turning point in its ecological research world (or not ?)

    Michelangelo Morganti

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

    A point of view from our Deputy Editor-in-Chief about whether the funds of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) have the potential to restore the Italian ecological research system. An hot-topic also for others EU countries.

  3. Diet and foraging ecology of the Hoopoe Upupa epops in a Mediterranean area of Central Italy

    Matteo Annessi, Alessio De Biase & Alessandro Montemaggiori

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    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 microhabitat 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 (10×10 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.
  4. GPS-tracking reveals annual variation in home-range and sedentary behaviour in Common Kestrels breeding in central Italy

    Gianluca Damiani, Valeria Jennings, Giacomo Dell'Omo & David Costantini

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    We studied the movements of Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus in central Italy by GPS-tracking 10 individuals between 2019 and 2021. Our aim was to investigate the extent of movements during the breeding and non-breeding seasons. In the breeding season the mean home-range size increased from incubation (1.11 km2) to the chick-rearing period (3.35 km2), and the average home-range for the entire study period was 3.68 km2. In winter, all tagged individuals remained within a few hundred meters of their nesting area, revealing for the first time a non-migratory behaviour for the species. In conclusion, our study provides novel data on the movement ecology of Kestrels during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons, and documented the resident behaviour of Kestrels in central Italy.
  5. Habitat selection, density and breeding of Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major in a protected natural area in northern Italy

    Elena Piacentini & Gianpasquale Chiatante

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    Woodpeckers have a strong affinity to forests and woodlands, even though they can also occur in man-made environments such as tree plantations, where they assume the role of keystone species thanks to
    their ability to create cavities, used as nests or refuges by other animals. However, it remains unclear how the spreading of man-made environments influences the occurrence and distribution of local populations. This study aimed to investigate the macrohabitat and microhabitat selection of the Great Spotted Woodpecker during the breeding season in a protected area in northern Italy, focusing on plantations and woodland habitats. We additionally provided some data on breeding biology and estimated the density in this area. As macrohabitat characteristics, we compared the cover of woodlands (three types: oak, black locust, and willow woodlands) and tree plantations (two types: poplar plantations and reforestations). To define the microhabitat selection, we compared environmental variables around nesting sites and around an equal number of random locations in their proximity. The Great Spotted Woodpecker selected oak and black locust woodlands, but also reforestation and poplar plantations. The results of the microhabitat analysis showed that for breeding, Great Spotted Woodpeckers require food resources, but also a rather dense arboreal vegetation and large trees. We estimated a density of 7.61 ind./km2 ± 1,13 (ES), indicating a good state of conservation. In conclusion, the Great Spotted Woodpecker occurs in both natural woodlands, where it also selects the non-native black locust, and tree plantations, despite the latter possibly being used only for foraging. Even though it is a generalist species, the woodpecker may play an important role as ecosystem engineer in both tree plantations and black locust woodlands, due to the scarcity of natural cavity in these habitats. To favour the presence of the species it is advisable to (1) increase the surface of tree vegetation of any type, (2) favour the maintenance of mature trees, (3) avoid silvicultural interventions during the breeding season (late January-late July).
  6. Short Communication - Preliminary acoustic analyses of the structure of Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea (Scopoli, 1786) song samples from Northern Italy

    Luca Baghino & Sauro Giannerini

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    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 interindividual 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.
  7. Columns - Italian Ornithological Commission (COI) - Report 30

    Egidio Fulco & Cristiano Liuzzi (eds.)

    Abstract     Read Article       Download
    Italian Ornithological Commission (COI) – Report 30. This report refers to records from January 1st 2020 to December 31st 2021, with the addition of a number of records from previous years that were submitted
    more recently. For each species, the records are listed by date and information is given as follows: English and scientific name, number of accepted records pre- and post-1950 (the numbers in this abstract refer to the total number of records), number of individuals if more than one, age or plumage and sex if known, location, date, names of the observers, and available documentation (photograph, sound recording, specimen, etc.). The taxonomy is in line with the new CISO-COI Italian Checklist, which also includes subspecies and follows the taxonomy adopted by the HBW-BirdLife Check-list, as decided by the CISO council in 2018. A total of 52 records involving 31 taxa were assessed. The following 40 records, involving 23 taxa, were accepted, including eight first records for Italy (Cat. AERC: A – COI Category 1A, 1B): Oriental Turtle-dove Streptopelia orientalis (Friuli- Venezia Giulia 2021, 4th record); Little Swift Apus affinis (Emilia-Romagna 2020, 7th record); White-rumped Swift Apus caffer (Calabria 2020, 1st record and 1st breeding); Allen’s Gallinule Porphyrio alleni (Tuscany 2013, 9th record; Piedmont 2021, 10th record); Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos (Latium 2021, 1st record); Brown Booby Sula leucogaster (Tuscany 2020, 8th record; Liguria 2020, 9th record; Tuscany 2021, 10th record); Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva (Campania 2020, 17th record; Basilicata 2020, 18th record; Apulia 2020, 19th record); Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus (Umbria 2021, 1st record); Whitetailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus (Apulia 2020, 6th record); Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda (Campania 2013, 11th record); Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri (Lombardy 2021, 1st record); Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (Veneto 2013, 8th record; Latium 2020, 9th record); Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (Latium 2021, 12th record; Apulia 2021 13th record); Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni (Lombardy 2021, 12th record); ‘Russian Mew Gull’ Larus canus heinei (Lombardy 2019-2021, 2nd to 11th records; Emilia-Romagna 2021, 12th record); Heuglin’s Gull Larus fuscus heuglini (Abruzzo 2017, 4th record); Thick-billed Murre Uria lomvia (Liguria 2021, 1st record); Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor pallidirostris (Apulia 2020, 8th record); Redtailed Shrike Lanius phoenicuroides (Sicily 2021, 1st record); Booted Warbler Iduna caligata (Tuscany 2021, 2nd record); Siberian Trush Geokikla sibirica (Lombardy 2020, 4th record); Black-throated Wheatear Oenanthe seebohmi (Abruzzo 2020, 1st record); Caspian Stonechat Saxicola torquatus hemprichii (Sicily 2019, 5th record). The addition of White-rumped Swift, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Grey-headed Lapwing, Western Sandpiper, Thick-billed Murre, Red-tailed Shrike and Black-throated Wheatear brings the Italian list to 557 accepted species. Records not accepted (COI List 5A, 5B) were: Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris (Tuscany 2021); Yellow-billed Egret Ardea brachyrhyncha (Piedmont 2020); Steppe Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus alboaxillaris (Veneto 2020); Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris (two records: Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2009-2011; Latium 2019); Ehrenberg’s Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus (Tuscany 2020); Naumann’s Trush Turdus naumanni (Lombardy 2007); Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae (Tuscany 2020); Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola (Veneto 2019).
  8. Columns - Bird News, December 2022

    Gaia Bazzi (ed.)

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

    The most recent Bird News issue, reports nine interesting observations 

    reviewed and edited by our Associate Editor Gaia Bazzi

  9. Columns - Book Review

    Avocetta Editorial Board

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

    Reviews of the following books:

    The Wryneck. by Gerard Gorman, Pelagic Publishing, 2022. 
    Reviewed by Letizia Campioni (Associate Editor)
    Vagrancy in Birds. by Alexander Lees and James Gilroy, 2022. Princeton Univerisity Press.
    Reviewed by Gaia Bazzi (Associate Editor)
    The Birds of Italy, Vol.3. by Pierandrea Brichetti and Giancarlo Fracasso, 2022. Edizioni Belvedere. 
    Reviewed by Giacomo Assandri (Associate Editor)
    Gulls of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. by Peter Adriaens et al. 2022. Princeton University Press. 
    Reviewed by Gaia Bazzi (Associate Editor)
  10. Columns - Obituary

    Marco Pantalone

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

    A fond memory of the ornithologist and environmentalist Marco Borioni (1946 – 2022)

  11. Full pdf of the entire 46.2 Avocetta issue (for home-printing purposes) 

    Abstract     Read Article       Download

    Since Avocetta is no longer released as a printed journal, the Editorial Board wants to facilitate our readers that aim to print the volume on its own. 

    This full-quality pdf version is complete from the journal cover to the last Column.
    Indeed, only private uses of this file are admitted.