Sunday, 19 June 2011

Migration of Raptors

Honey Buzzard
Raptors are the apex species in the Aves group and are quite challenging to identify. Their mastery of flight and habit of migrating in large numbers from known watch points has long fascinated humans. For this reason; they have arguably become the most monitored group of birds and therefore attract a huge interest from birders all around the world.

Malta lies along one of the three migrating routes for raptors in the Mediterranean and it is used as a stepping stone from Europe to Africa and vice versa.

The highest number of raptors are observed in autumn. The most abundant being Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Osprey, Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel and Hobby but can also include Short- toed Eagle, Black Kite, Montagu's and Pallid Harriers, Common and Steppe Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Eleonora's Falcon. Rarer species also occur which can include Egyptian Vulture, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Saker, Merlin and Red- footed Falcon (which is common in spring).

Late afternoon is the best time to observe the birds as they start to lower to find a suitable roosting place. This makes it an ideal time to spot and have good views of the raptors. 

Off course other birds can be observed. Some of the most evident birds are Bee-eaters, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, various hirundines and swifts and Wheatears. Various flocks of herons can be observed as well as the rarer Black Stork. Depending on various factors; such as weather and timing, a multitude of various migrants can be observed.

Photo by Christopher Cachia Zammit
Information contributed by Michael Sammut and Christopher Cachia Zammit

No comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to mailing list for free. Members are eligible for some great offers.