Monday, September 28, 2020

A new paper on the Western Marsh Harrier migration out now!

Agostini, N., Chiatante, G., Dell'Omo, G. & Panuccio, M. 2020. Differential autumn migration between sex and age groups in the Western marsh harrier: a longitudinal pattern analysis. Ethology, Ecology & Evolution, DOI: 10.1080/03949370.2020.1820581

The Western marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus is a partial migrant with populations breeding in eastern and northern Europe migrating south and wintering mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. During autumn migration harriers move on a broad front heading SW and undertaking long sea-crossings en route to their wintering quarters. However, a substantial proportion of birds, mostly juveniles and adult females, migrate only shorter distances wintering in Europe and North Africa. In a 7-year study (2011–2017), between 26 August and 30 September, we compared the ratio and timing of the different sex/age classes of Western marsh harriers (adult male, adult female, juvenile) at two migration bottlenecks: the Strait of Messina (southern Italy) and Batumi (Georgia). At both sites, adult males migrated slightly earlier that adult females and earlier than juveniles. Among adults, males outnumbered females and this difference was more evident along the eastern flyway. At Batumi, a higher proportion of juveniles (first calendar year birds) was reported. The male-biased sex ratio reported at the Strait of Messina is very similar to that reported in broods of Western marsh harriers breeding in The Netherland and Poland. We suggest that the higher proportion of adult males recorded at Batumi could reflect the sex ratio in male-biased populations in western Russia.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


In order to evaluate which factors shape the migration routes followed by adult honey buzzards, MEDRAPTORS is promoting and funding the tagging of new individuals in Hungary. The field work is led by our colleague Eniko Anna Tamas. Two individuals have been tagged in the last days, and the work is still ongoing.

It will be possible to follow the movements of these birds on a dedicated page of our website.

Preliminary results of this research show a loop migration pattern that confirms the seasonal variation of field counts carried out in Italy and Spain during autumn and spring.

Agostini N, Prommer M, Váczi M, Panuccio M 2019. Repeated large scale loop migrations of an adult European Honey Buzzard. Avocetta 43: 13-21. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

New paper on red-footed falcon migration

You can download here a new paper on the migration of red-footed falcon across Mediterranean basin. Our founder Michele Panuccio collaborated to this study, which is based on citizen science data.

Bounas A., Solanou M., Panuccio M., Barišić S., Bino T., Erciyas-Yavuz K., Iankov P., Ieronymidou C., Barboutis C. 2020. Mining citizen science data to explore stopover sites and spatiotemporal variation in migration patterns of the red-footed falcon. Current Zoology doi: 10.1093/cz/zoaa008.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Egidio and the sandstorm: short-toed eagle project update

Egidio started his journey from Mali on the 19/2 and arrived in his breeding territory in Southern Italy on the 12/3. On the 23/2 he spent the whole day sitting on acacia trees in the Western Sahara, during a sandstorm: see the figure below. One of us (Ugo Mellone) was at 350 km experiencing the same conditions.

You can see the whole track on our Project page. We are hoping to get data from Michele in the next month, as soon as he will reach an area with mobile coverage: immatures start their spring migration much later than adults.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Settimana della Migrazione

Osservatorio dello Stretto “Michele Panuccio”
Settimane della Migrazione
Organizzatori: Ornis Italica, Lipu e Medraptors

The Observatory is dedicated to Michele Panuccio (30/08/1976 – 18/06/2019). Michele started attending the Strait in the year 1997 with the first volunteers to fight the poaching of Honey Buzzards. Since then he has pursued his passion for migration, in particular with reference to birds of prey, collaborating with many researchers, visiting the most important observatories in Europe and in the world, but never missing a migratory season from the Strait. The Strait Observatory owes Michele much of its origins.

L'Osservatorio è dedicato a Michele Panuccio (30/08/76 - 18/06/2019), dottore in ecologia ed ornitologo, che   ha iniziato a frequentare lo stretto da ragazzo,  nel  '97, con i primi volontari per combattere il bracconaggio di falchi pecchiaioli. Da allora ha continuato la sua passione per le migrazioni, in particolare con riferimento ai rapaci, collaborando con molti ricercatori, visitando i più importanti osservatori in Europa e nel mondo, senza mai perdere una stagione migratoria dallo Stretto. L'Osservatorio dello Stretto deve a Michele gran parte delle sue origini.

Luogo: Solano di Scilla - Gambarie d'Aspromonte
Periodo:   Sabato 25 Aprile – domenica 10 Maggio
Attività principali:
Durante la settimana conteggio rapaci con ornitologi esperti.
Mentre alcuni ornitologi raccolgono i dati,  altri  spieg
ano ai visitatori come vengono condotte le osservazioni, quali dati vengono raccolti e forniscono informazioni sulle specie in migrazione.
Prima di iniziare sul campo, nell’Osservatorio viene presentato brevemente il progetto (origine e finalità della stazione, i dati raccolti finora tramite osservazione diretta e radar, altre stazioni che fanno/hanno fatto monitoraggi simili – Falsterbo, Gibilterra, Batumi..) e viene spiegato come assegnare età e sesso ai rapaci in volo se i partecipanti lo richiedono.

(foto di Michele Panuccio)
I volontari rimangono per x giorni, va previsto con il residence Bucaneve un forfettario per vitto e alloggio.
Parallelamente al lavoro di campo: tutoraggio di fotografia naturalistica, attività di educazione ambientale con le scolaresche (scuola media) dei comuni vicini e di Reggio Calabria: la migrazione (gli uccelli non conoscono frontiere),  le zone umide,  la fauna aspromontana, il volo degli uccelli... 
Ciclo di brevi conferenze serali (40 min) su vari argomenti legati alla migrazione: migrazione diurna e rapaci, migrazione notturna e passeriformi, come funziona un radar ornitologico, il bracconaggio in Calabria, il Parco dell’Aspromonte.
Una conferenza più importante sul territorio: Aspromonte, il parco, importanza dello Stretto per le migrazioni, da organizzare per il pomeriggio (15:00 18:30) del Sabato 2 o domenica 3 maggio.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Autumn news: short-toed eagle tracking, new posters and new paper

It is now possible to follow on our website (in the PROJECTS page) the migration of two short-toed eagles: Egidio, tagged in the 2013 as a juvenile and now adult, and his son Michele, tagged this year in July.

In this picture by Victor Muñoz, you can see Michele in Basilicata, just a few days before the departure.

Moreover, three posters from the recent Italian Ornithological Congress in Naples have been uploaded. They deal with the migration of raptors and bee-eaters at the Strait of Messina, and on the use of rubbish dumps by black kites.

Finally, you can find in the papers page also a new study to which we collaborated focused on the migration of the lesser kestrel at a pan-European scale.