Capsule The post-reproductive stage of Lesser Kestrel is crucial for migratory fuelling and survival.Aims To describe the summer pre-migratory ecology of the Lesser Kestrel in Sicily and review existing data inSouthern Europe.Methods We identified the main summer roosts and then made roost counts every ten days from 2010 to2012. We used case-sensitive modelling procedures to detect biases in counts (generalized linear mixedmodels), assess the annual population trends from 2005 to 2012 (TRends and Indices for Monitoring);and to model habitat preferences (generalized linear model). We sampled pellets to describe the birds’diet during the peak month prior to migration.Results We discovered five roosts in Sicily with numbers of Lesser Kestrels varying annually (mean ±sd:2112±387; min–max: 1797–2544). Counts at the main roost were not biased by meteorologicalconditions and showed an August peak followed by persistent decline through October. Less urbanizedand heterogeneous agricultural areas with large cereal fields were the most significant habitats preferredduring summer. Within this landscape, Lesser Kestrels prey on seasonally high concentrations of thesmall cricket Grylloderes brunneri.Conclusion Arable land not fragmented by agricultural intensification supports habitat rich withOrthopterans and attracts a large number of Lesser Kestrels fuelling before migration. Conservation ofsuch pre-migratory habitats is as vital as conservation of breeding areas.
|Numero di pagine||13|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2014|
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