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A line transect survey of wintering raptors in the western po plain of northern Italy


, : A line transect survey of wintering raptors in the western po plain of northern Italy. Journal of Raptor Research 36(2): 128-135, June

The raptor population wintering in lowland farmland of northwestern Italy was monitored during the winters of 1998-99 and 1999-2000 by means of a roadside vehicle survey. To estimate the density of wintering raptors, we recorded perpendicular distances of the birds from transect lines. Seven species of raptors were recorded, but a sufficient number of observations to estimate density was collected only for the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo). The extensive rice fields in the eastern part of the region and some other restricted areas, rich in humid meadows and scattered woodlots, showed high Common Buzzard densities (1.1-1.6 birds/km2), but the other cultivated areas, mainly cornfields, had a significantly lower density (0.2 birds/km2). On the basis of these data, we estimated a wintering population of Common Buzzards of the lowland farmland, covering about 6700 km2 in the Piemonte region of northwestern Italy of 3700 (3200-4400) birds.

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