Poster 3 - II International Symposium of Red Kite

Poster 3 - II International Symposium of Red Kite
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El milano real en Molise: seguimiento en dormideros y estima de la población nidificante. 3. Red Kite in Molise: Monitoring of roosts and estimates of breeding population. Davide De Rosa, Lorenzo De Lisio, Anna Loy, Andrea Senese, Camilla Bucci & Guido Ceccolini.

Transcript of Poster 3 - II International Symposium of Red Kite

  • Red Kite (Milvus milvus) in Molise:

    Monitoring of roosts and estimates of breeding population

    De Rosa Davide1,3, De Lisio Lorenzo2, Loy Anna1, Senese Andrea3, Bucci Camilla1

    e Ceccolini Guido4

    1 Environmetrics Lab Dipartimento di Bioscienze and Territorio DiBT - Universit del Molise, 86090 Pesche (IS)

    2 WWF Molise Via SS Cosma e Damiano 1, 86100 Campobasso

    3 ARDEA Associazione per la Ricerca, la Divulgazione e lEducazione Ambientale, Via Ventilabro n.6,80126 Napoli

    4 Associazione CERM Centro Rapaci Minacciati ONLUS, Via Santa Cristina, 6 58055 Rocchette di Fazio (GR)


    Along with Basilicata and Abruzzo, Molise is one of Italys regions of strategic importance for breeding and wintering Red Kites (Milvus milvus). Between 2009 and 2011, as part of a study carried under an agreement between the Molise

    regional administration and the Italian Zoological Union for the implementation of the Management Plans for Natura 2000 sites, we conducted the first simultaneous region-wide census of Red Kites in Molise. The data, collected through most of

    the species range in the region (Lago di Guardialfiera-Foce Fiume Biferno, Vallone Santa Maria, Bosco la Difesa Colle Lucina La Romana and Pantano Zittola - Feudo Valcocchiara), related primarily to the breeding season.

    Since 2011, we have located and monitored Molises three main wintering roosts in the months of December and January. Roost attendance generally declines in January (about -55%). The maximum number of Red Kites was counted in winter

    2012/13 with 318 birds in December and 144 in January.

    In 2015, we surveyed the province of Isernia in more detail, using transects and a KIA (Kilometric Index of Abundance) in order to obtain more thorough data on the entire region and arrive at a more accurate estimate of the breeding population.

    These efforts helped confirm the estimate of 50-70 breeding pairs in Molise made in 2014. This is an increased compared to the estimate made 2009 (30-50 breeding pairs), and reflects increased survey efforts during the breeding season.

    Our surveys also detected birds with wing tags and GPS data loggers from the reintroduction effort in Tuscany (Save the Flyers LIFE project).

    We conclude that the breeding population in Molise is stable, although in some important areas, such as SCI " La Montagnola di Frosolone ", there has been a sharp decline in the number of pairs, probably due to the high number of wind farms

    present. Starting in December 2015, we will study the movements of Red Kites by using GPS-datalogers, and we will have a clearer idea of which conservation efforts to apply and where.


    The Red Kite is an high conservation concern species, included in Annex I of Directive 79/409/EEC and Annex

    II of the Bonn Convention on migratory species. It also considered Near Threatened by the IUCN due to the

    general decline which is occurring in many European countries. Population estimate is 20,000-26,000 breeding

    pairs in Europe mainly concentrated in Germany; significant populations are also present in Switzerland, Spain

    and Belgium.

    In Italy Red Kite breeding population estimate was 393-403 pairs (Allavena et al., 2007), then Sar et al. (2009),

    with a survey on a national scale, confirmed this values (314-426 pairs), equivalent approximately to 1.5% of the

    European breeding population.

    In 2014 Nicola Cillo has collected updated data on breeding population in Italy in the final conference of LIFE

    Project Save the Flyers; currently in Italy the estimate is 425-525 pairs, divided in different ways in central and

    southern regions.

    The national population is concentrated mainly in Basilicata, Abruzzo and Molise (82%). Small populations are

    also present in Calabria, Apulia, Sicily, Lazio, Campania, Tuscany and Marche (in the latter two regions there are

    active reintroduction projects). In new Italian Red List of breeding birds, its status improved from Endangered to

    Vulnerable (Bulgarini et al., 1998; Peronace et al., 2012).


    Molise region is divided almost equally between mountainous areas (55.3%) and hilly areas (44.7%). The

    mountainous area extends between the Apennines of Abruzzo and the Samnite Apennines. The meeting point of

    the border between Molise, Abruzzo and Lazio is represented by Meta mountains (2,241 m), and along the

    border with Campania are the Matese Mountains that reach an altitude of 2,050 meters with Mount Miletto. To

    the east, the area of the Sub-Apennines (Frentani) slopes down to the sea with very steep hills and rounded

    shapes. The flat areas are few and small, the main ones are the plain of Bojano and western plain of Venafro.


    Since December 2011 a national survey was conducted with two main objectives: to provide an update of

    knowledge on quantity and distribution of roosts and also to develop a methodology that could be replicated over

    time so to start a monitoring on the wintering population of Red Kite.

    The project involved 10 regions, in which roosts were already known: Tuscany, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise,

    Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily. For Molise supervisor are Lorenzo De Lisio and Davide De


    The census has been divided into two periods: the first week of December (corresponding to the first part of

    winter to lower latitudes) and first decade of January (which corresponds to the central point of the winter in

    accordance with the european census).

    During the days before the census we conducted preliminary surveys in appropriate areas, to check the exact

    location of the roosts and the possible appearance of new ones. Censuses started from early in the afternoon

    (14.00), in order to assess the possible presence of subjects that went in other directions, until the dusk. The

    counts have been completed after the sunset, when the light conditions did not allow to make further

    observations and all the kites were laid on the trees.

    For the census of breeding pairs, from 2009 to 2011, thanks to the study carried out as part of an agreement

    between the Region of Molise and Italian Zoological Union for the implementation of the Management Plans of

    Natura 2000 sites, we collected the first data simultaneously on the presence of the species in a significant

    portion of the region (Lago di Guardialfiera-Foce Fiume Biferno, Vallone Santa Maria, Bosco la Difesa Colle Lucina La Romana and Pantano Zittola - Feudo Valcocchiara) (Fig. 1).

    In 2015 the province of Isernia was investigated in more detail with transects to perform KIA (Kilometric Index

    of Abundance) (Fig. 2). The sampling was carried out driving a car at a constant speed of 40-60 km/h, during the

    month of June, only in clear weather conditions and good visibility. During the journey the identification of the

    birds was done without binoculars except for uncertain identification.


    Since December 2011, data were collected continuously until January 2015 (Tab. 1) in the three main sites used as


    During the field research we also identified other small roosts but they were used occasionally and therefore not

    shown in the table.

    As regards the breeding season, in 2009 in Molise 30-50 breeding pairs were estimated (De Rosa, 2011), but thanks

    to the investigations carried out in detail in the province of Isernia, the current estimate is 50-70 breeding pairs.

    This estimate is based on data obtained in censuses from 2009 to 2011 in the province of Campobasso and the KIA

    carried out in the province of Isernia in 2015 (Table 2).

    The surveys were conducted for 241.7 km divided into 4 transects of different lengths. The obtained result is 7.45

    3.72 (n individuals / 100 km).

    During a survey in the province of Campobasso (7 May 2011), at Montenero di Bisaccia an individual with wing

    markings was sighted and photographed; it came from the repopulation project ongoing in Tuscany (Fig. 3). Later

    another subject with gps-logger called Vincent spent three days in October 2013 in southern Italy through Molise,

    Puglia and Campania (Fig. 4).


    The census data obtained at roosts in winter, as shown in the table 1, point out that in January there is a decline in

    attendance (about -55%), probably due to climatic conditions; in fact, recent surveys carried out by unusual weather

    conditions, lack of snow and temperatures above the average showed higher number of Kites in the roosts.

    Comparing the current breeding population estimate instead of the previous one (2011), it would seem that the Red

    Kite is undergoing strong expansion; such a result, however, depends only on the increased sampling effort.

    Comparing the KIA made in Molise with the Basilicata one (Pandolfi, 2006), there is a distinct difference between

    the two regions (KIA annual average of 15.9 1.1), although Pandolfi results come from a one year survey; whereas if we make a comparison with the few data in the literature concerning only the breeding period, the value

    of Molise is slightly higher than that recorded in Navarra by Viuela et al. in 1999 (6.7 individuals / 100 km).

    Probably breeding population of Red Kite in Molise is still underestimated because the area of the province of

    Isernia should be investigated further and next year KIA will be carried out in the whole region.

    From this winter 8 Red Kites will be equipped with GPS-data logger, thus the behaviour of the species in t