Monday, November 20, 2023
Saturday, December 3, 2022
Agostini N., Panuccio M., von Hardenberg J. & Monti F. 2022. Potential importance of wind patterns and guidance opportunities for the conservation of the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus in Italy. Bird Conservation International 1-10, doi:10.1017/S0959270922000089.
Movement ecology and environmental factors are topics of paramount importance to consider when planning conservation programmes for target species. Here we discuss this topic by reviewing the available information related to the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, with reference to the remnant breeding population of Southern Italy, of high conservation concern and subject of a long-term captive-breeding re-stocking programme. We describe how adverse wind conditions over the Central Mediterranean Sea make the sea-crossing challenging with detrimental effects on the survival of inexperienced birds, and coupled this information with count data of migrating Egyptian Vultures. Furthermore, we indicate how low population size and scarce opportunities in meeting migrating conspecifics could potentially lead juvenile Egyptian Vultures to follow unfavourable migratory routes, with possible repercussions on survival. We postulate how these concomitant factors could be indirectly influencing the longterm survival of this small population, principally affected by anthropogenic threats. We also discuss how the same factors could actually be affecting captive-bred young individuals released in late summer in southern continental Italy, in the framework of the restocking programme. An integrative approach with tailor-made release methods, which also takes into account the age of released birds and geographical and environmental factors, would likely be useful for a more goal-oriented and long-lasting conservation outcome, for the preservation of this endangered scavenger.
Chiatante G., Panuccio M., Pastorino A., Dell’Omo G., Scacco M. & Agostini N. 2022. Small-scale migratory behavior of three facultative soaring raptors approaching a water body: a radar study investigating the effect of weather, topography and flock size. Journal of Ethology. DOI:10.1007/s10164-022-00766-x
Water bodies are considered a barrier to the migration of large bird species, mainly because of the absence of thermals that these birds heavily rely on to move large distances with little energy expenditure. In this two-year study, we combined vertical and horizontal radar data with visual observations to compare the autumn migratory behavior of three facultative soaring species: European honey buzzards Pernis apivorus, western marsh harriers Circus aeruginosus and black kites Milvus migrans. Here we used non-parametric tests, linear and generalized linear models to investigate the efect of fock size, age, local weather conditions, time of the day and topography on the small-scale fight behavior of these species, quantifed in terms of fight altitude, fight direction and distance from the mountain ridge. European honey buzzards, both adults and juveniles, were detected over the plateau near the mountain chain during suitable weather conditions for soaring fight (especially high temperature) and during high species fow, which facilitated the location of thermals. In contrast, inexperienced juveniles were less concentrated in space, forming smaller focks and fying at lower altitudes, probably being less facilitated than adult in exploiting the soaring fight. The Western marsh harrier, a raptor largely using the fapping fight even over land, few lower than adult honey buzzards and nearer to the mountain ridge during strong tailwinds, perhaps being efcient in exploiting their support using the fapping fight even during inter-thermal gliding. Such as western marsh harriers, black kites few nearer the mountain chain during strong tailwinds, but they probably use soaring fight during such weather conditions to exploit their onward support even when circling in thermals.