• Nibbio preialpino

Birds of prey of Parco San Marco

THE BUZZARD - BUTEO BUTEO

Wing span:

117-137 cm

Remarks:

This diurnal bird of prey is located in Porlezza. Its population may increase in winter when joined by other conspecifics from Central and Northern Europe.

Characteristic Features:

When flying, the buzzard is reminiscent of a small eagle. As it flies around, it often utters a high-pitched call which sounds like miaowing. This diligent hunter of small rodents (field mice and water rats) also feeds on small and medium-sized birds.

 THE BUZZARD

THE BLACK KITE - MILVUS MIGRANS

 Wing span:

112-117 cm

Remarks:

This diurnal bird of prey is a regular migratory bird that overwinters in Africa and nests in Europe. It arrives in the last third of March and in the second half of August it migrates towards the South again. When flying, it is recognizable by its slightly forked tail. You can often see it circling above the lake in search of food.

Characteristic Features:

It is a true waste eliminator for the lake. It cleans the lakeside by picking up every piece of biological waste that it sees from above with its keen eyes.

Nibbio Bruno Black Kite

HE KESTREL - FALCO TINNUNCULUS

Wing span:

68-74 cm

Remarks:

This diurnal bird of prey is located in Porlezza. Its territory consists of quite different habitats, from rocky, mountainous landscapes to Alpine pastures or meadows far down in the valley. You often see it circling above its feeding area on the cliff walls of Valsolda, where it preys upon lizards, small rodents and insects.

Characteristic Features:

The kestrel has a very distinctive method of hunting: It “wind-hovers” about 15 to 20 m above the ground (appearing to remain stationary in the air) by fiercely flapping its wings while carefully observing the ground beneath. As soon as it has spotted its prey, it plunges down vertically to grab it.

 He Kestrel

THE SPARROWHAWK- ACCIPITER NISUS

Wing span:

61-79 cm

Remarks:

This raptor can also be found in Porlezza. Its territory includes gardens and forests where it preys upon small birds.

Characteristic Features:

The sparrowhawk is a real acrobat: it flies very fast with sudden, rapid changes in direction. In the local dialect it is called a “falchett”.

 Sparrowhawk

THE HONEY BUZZARD - PERNIS APIVORUS

Wing span:

119-127 cm

Remarks:  

This diurnal raptor is a regular migratory bird that overwinters in Africa and nests in Europe. It reaches Porlezza in April and leaves us in October. When flying, it can be distinguished from the common buzzard (Buteo buteo) by the shape of its head which is proportionally smaller and reminiscent of a pigeon. It mainly flies near rocky ridges and over forests and pastures.

Characteristic Features:

What is most particular about this raptor is that, in contrast to the others, it feeds mainly on Hymenoptera (wasps and bees).

Falco pecchiaiolo

THE PEREGRINE FALCON - FALCO PEREGRINUS

Wing span:

81-112 cm

Remarks:

This diurnal bird of prey is located in Porlezza. This is the classic falcon that was formerly used in falconry. Until recently, the population was critically endangered.

Characteristic Features:

The peregrine falcon hunts mainly at dawn or early morning. It feeds primarily on other birds and hunts using a nosedive technique where it can reach speeds of up to 330 km/hour. It strikes with its breastbone and the prey falls dead to the ground

 Peregrin Falcon

THE BROWN OWL - STRIX ALUCO

Wing span:

81-112 cm

Remarks:

The brown owl is the most common nocturnal bird of prey in Porlezza. It lives mainly in deciduous forests, but also in large parks and private gardens. It nests in hollow tree trunks.

Characteristic Features:

There are two characteristic plumage colourations: Grey-brown and reddish-brown. The brown owl primarily hunts small rodents, but also dormice. Like all nocturnal birds of prey the brown owl also flies silently. Thanks to tiny feathers covering its wings, the flapping is so muted that it is imperceptible to the keen ear of its prey. The large forward-facing eyes, the extremely keen hearing, and the ability to turn the head 260 degrees make the brown owl (and all other nocturnal birds of prey) an almost perfect hunter.

Brown Owl Photos Pictures

THE EAGLE OWL- BUBO BUBO

Wing span:

160-188 cm

Remarks:  

The eagle owl is the largest nocturnal bird of prey in Europe. In Porlezza, like other locations, it is not widespread but is still represented by two nesting pairs.

Characteristic Features:

During the day the eagle owl stays in densely wooded, cool valleys far away from human eyes. At night it searches for prey in the woods and large meadows. It can strike prey up to the size of a young fox, as well as other birds of prey like the black kite. Its piercing, monotone cry (a “buhuu –buhuu”, from which its scientific name is derived) can be heard even from several kilometres away.

Eagle Owl

Head image: juzaphoto.com