Abundance of common buzzards (Buteo buteo) in olive monocultures in the island of Crete

June 2012
Journal of Biological Research;2012, Vol. 17, p44
Academic Journal
In the present study we collected data on the breeding and wintering status of common buzzards that used olive groves in the Mesara basin (112 km²) in south Crete. An effort was also made to investigate the flying and hunting behavior of wintering individuals. The number of the species territories mapped during spring 2003-2006 ranged from 18-23 producing a breeding density of 5.7 pairs per 100 km² . Similarly, roadside surveys carried out during winter 2007-2008 generated a mean density of 2.5 individuals km-1 or an estimated wintering population of 248-322 individuals. Buzzard numbers peaked in December and February depicting an influx of wintering and migrating birds, respectively. Overall, the species density was lower than those reported for central Europe but rather high when compared to other Mediterranean regions. These differences could be attributed to weather conditions, crop type and the farming methods practiced in olive groves. Hovering buzzards were never recorded whereas soaring was the commonest type of flight behavior. In addition, perching buzzards selected favorably manmade constructions against natural ones. Ground hunting is negligible in Crete, in contrast to north European countries, where suitable perching sites might be scarce in open farmland and snow cover in winter is frequent.


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