Migrant Landbird Study Group

Promoting collaborative research for migratory landbirds across flyways

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Strait of Messina Bird Observatory

Study species: Eurasian birds of prey

Research topic: Migration

Institution location: Ornis Italica

Research location: Strait of Messina

Project organiser: Ornis italica

Status: Active

The project was launched in 2014 as a side activity of a visual and radar monitoring of birds on migration near a new powerline of TERNA on the Strait of Messina. It is ongoing as a collaboration between Ornis italica ( and MEDRAPTORS ( Our website:

The project is active during spring and autumn and aims to collect long-term data on bird migration at the major bottle-neck of the Central Mediterranean area. Two watch points on each side of the Strait, one in Sicily and one in Calabria, are operating at the same time and attended by ornithologists and volunteers. The commonest migrating raptor is the European Honey Buzzard with more than 20.000 individuals per season.


Panuccio, M., Martín, B., Morganti, M., Onrubia, A., & Ferrer, M. (2016). Longā€term changes in autumn migration dates at the Strait of Gibraltar reflect population trends of soaring birds. Ibis. view

Agostini, N., Gustin, M., & Panuccio, M. (2016). Short-toed snake eagles Circaetus gallicus (Gmelin, 1788)(Aves: Accipitridae) approaching a water barrier show reverse direction of migration. Italian Journal of Zoology, 1-6. view

Panuccio, M., Barboutis, C., Chiatante, G., Evangelidis, A., & Agostini, N. (2016). Pushed by increasing air temperature and tailwind speed: weather selectivity of raptors migrating across the Aegean Sea. Ornis Fennica, 93(3), 159. view

Agostini, N., Gustin, M., von Hardenberg, J., & Panuccio, M. (2016). Wind patterns affect migration flyways and flock size of a soaring bird over sea. Avian Biology Research, 9(3), 159-166. view

Panuccio M., Scacco M., Agostini N., Catoni C., Bogliani G. & Dell'Omo G. 2016. Seasonal differences in raptor migration over the Strait of Messina. "Bird Numbers 2016" 20th Conference of the EBCC, Halle, Germany. view

Agostini N., Panuccio M., Pastorino A., Sapir N. & Dell'Omo G. 2016. The migration of Western Marsh Harriers to the African wintering quarters along the central Mediterranean flyway. "Bird Numbers 2016" 20th Conference of the EBCC, Halle, Germany. view

Panuccio M., Stanzione V., Catoni C., Santini M. & Dell'Omo G. 2016. Radar tracking reveals influence of crosswinds and topography on migratory behavior of European honey buzzards. Journal of Ethology 34(1): 73-77. view