Thursday, September 16, 2021

Egidio e Michele: i bianconi stanno per partire!

In pochi giorni, i due bianconi che stiamo seguendo tramite la telemetria satellitare inizieranno la loro migrazione autunnale. Egidio, per la nona volta, e Michele per la terza! Potete seguirli su questa pagina.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

And, finally, the book!

Before passing away almost two years ago, our founder Michele Panuccio began to work on this challenging project, but unfortunately could not complete it. Ugo Mellone and Nicolantonio Agostini did their best to finalize this book, editing the chapters written by some of the major raptor migration experts worldwide. For the first time among WP raptors, and probably for the first time in any bird order, the migratory strategies of each species of a wide geographical area have been summarized according to the most recent findings.

From the foreword, by Richard Porter:

"As I pored over the draft chapters it brought home to me just how dramatically the study of raptor migration has advanced in the last 50 years. Back in the mid-1960s, when I started marvelling at the migration over Turkey’s Bosphorus, raptor watching and counting was a rare event, unheard of in most countries. [...] Now things have moved on apace with advances in identification, aging and sexing, widespread systematic counting at bottleneck sites, radar tracking and, of course, modern technology. Our knowledge would be so much the poorer without the ability to follow the migration and fortunes of these magnificent birds remotely by satellite telemetry. And so I dedicate this Foreword to Michele. What a fitting tribute it is that his colleagues have honoured him by completing the work he started. True friendship and a lasting legacy."

The book is in press and already available for order here or through NHBS and Amazon.

In the above mentioned website you can also find the full list of chapters with the respective authors. Each chapter includes at least a map and the color plates include spectacular photos of raptors during active migration, taken by several photographers.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

New papers on the Honey buzzard migration!

Agostini N., Chiatante G., Gustin M., Cento M., Von Hardenberg J., Dell'Omo G., Panuccio M. 2021. Local and regional wind patterns affect spring migration magnitude, flyways and flocking of European honey-buzzards Pernis apivorus at the Strait of Messina. Ardeola 78: 373-390.                           

This study investigated the influence of wind conditions on the migration patterns of European honey-buzzards across the Strait of Messina. Simultaneous observations occurred at four watchpoints, three on the Sicilian side and one on the continental boundary (Calabrian side). The magnitude of honey buzzards spring migration at the Strait is strongly affected by wind patterns in the Sicilian Channel the previous day. By interpreting migratory behaviour both at local and regional scales, this work can help to plan more efficient monitoring of honey buzzard and improving the efficiency of anti-poaching efforts. 

Cento M., Malpassuti V., Dell'Omo G., Agostini N. 2021. Differential timing of autumn migration between sex groups in adult European honey buzzards Pernis apivorus. Avian Biology Research.

Previous studies concerning timing of autumn migration in relation to sex groups in adult European honey buzzards provided contrasting results. In particular, a field survey made in southern Sweden did not report differences in timing, while a satellite study via GPS tracking on six adults, three males, and three females, revealed that the latter departed earlier. The aim of this 4-year study (2016-2019) is to further investigate the timing of autumn migration in this species carrying out observations at the Strait of Messina. Adult European honey buzzards concentrated the passage between late August early September, with females passing on average 5 days earlier than males. It is suggested that a different role of sexes concerning exhibition of territorial displays during the late breeding season, would explain differences between sex groups in timing of both moult and autumn migration.

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 33: 73-82. 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.