Ornis Hungarica. vol.11. (2001) p.1-7.
Distribution of woodland raptors along a Mediterranean-temperate gradient in Latium (central Italy)
Forest raptors are valuable indicators of habitat quality and show high sensitivity to woodland fragmentation. In this paper we provide data on the distribution of eight raptors including Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Black Kite Milvus migrans, Short-Toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, Hobby Falco subbuteo, Tawny Owl Strix aluco, and Long-Eared Owl Asio otus in 27 forests along a Mediterraneantemperate gradient in Latium, central Italy. Species richness (mean = 2.61.2) was positively correlated with forest size and mean tree diameter and not correlated with altitude. The most common species was S. aluco, breeding in all forests considered, followed by B. buteo, breeding in 20 forests (74.1%). C. gallicus occurred as a breeding species in only one forest. Based on raptor distribution, cluster analysis separated three groups including raptors associated to coastal woods (M. migrans, C. gallicus, P. apivorus, and F. subbuteo), raptors associated to mesophilous vegetation (A. nisus and A. otus), as well as ubiquitous species (B. buteo and S. aluco), with broad habitat and prey preferences, able to successfully colonize both woodland types. To assure the maintenance of good habitat quality in most woodlands, regulation of water diversion, prevention of summer fires, and a general reduction of human activities inside forests seem to be useful conservation tools.