Description

This species of bird is a genus of small passerine birds in the wren family. The scientific name comes from the Greek word “troglodytes”, meaning cave-dweller; this refers to its habit of disappearing into cavities or crevices whilst hunting arthropods or to roost.  They are the only member of the wren family Troglodytidae that are found in Eurasia. In Anglophone Europe, it is commonly known simply as the Wren.

Troglodytes measure around 8-12cm in length, a wingspan of 12-16cm and can weigh around 6-12g. They have relatively long, pale brown legs with pale brown beaks. Male and female wrens are similar in appearance, while the juveniles are darker with less distinctive barring on the flanks and indistinct mottling on the breast. They are easy to distinguish from other similar wrens due to their smaller size, shorter tail and a darker coloration. With small, round bodies, a fine pointed bill, short rounded wings, they have a short and stubby tail that is characteristically held cocked upright. 

Habitat

Mostly found in cooler habitats than most their relatives, most of the species can be found in mountains from Mexico to northern South America. 

Life Cycle
Distribution

Eurasian wrens are widely distributed across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia.

Migration

Eurasian wrens are widely distributed across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia. In most southern regions and on some islands including Britain and Ireland, wrens do not usually migrate. However many across the northern population tend to migrate southwards in winter, while others will move to lower altitudes. This species is known as the winter wren. 

Behaviour

Troglodytes are tiny, secretive but highly active woodland birds with a powerful voice. As they creep and/or climb they are incessant rather than being rapid; short flight swifts and direct but not sustained, its tiny wings whirring as it flies from bush to bush.

 They bob their heads almost continuously, and hop on the ground with cocked tail. It moves quickly, constantly flicking its erect tail, and bending its breast downward.

 At night, usually during winter, true to its scientific name, they will retreat into dark snug holes, sometimes even old nests. In hard weather condition they may do so in parties, consisting of either the family or of many individuals that gather together for warmth. 

Calls

With a surprisingly powerful voice, Eurasian wrens have a gushing burst of sweet music, loud and emphatic. Enormous for its size and ten times louder than a cockerel, the Wrens song call is one of the most distinctive features. 

Food

To feed, Eurasian Wren hunts on the forest floor, and along the banks of streams. It is often flitting from bush to bush, or running as a mouse on the ground, and like many other wrens they are elusive as they hunt for small insects and spiders. They feed on a wide variety of invertebrates, such as insects and spiders, but also small vertebrates such as fishes, tadpoles and young frogs. It also consumes berries and seeds. However they readily reveal their positions through their loud songs. 

Conservation status

Troglodytes have an extensive and large global population that is estimated at tens or even hundreds of millions of birds. This is thought to be stable or increasing across much of its range. Under the ICUN Red List, this species is classified as Least Concerned

References

Date last accessed: 22/08/2013

1) Troglodytes (wren) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troglodytes_(wren)

2) Eurasian Wren http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Wren

3) Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) http://www.arkive.org/wren/troglodytes-troglodytes/

4) IUCN Red List http://www.iucnredlist.org/

5) Eurasian Wren http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-eurasian-wren.html

Blackbird (Turdus merula)


Description

As the name suggests, blackbirds are totally black. They have bright golden-yellow beaks that darken near the end of summer, and a neat yellow ring around their eyes that appear during spring and summer. These are the male blackbirds; females are brown in colour, with dark, streaky mottling on the paler, rufous breast.  The juveniles resemble females, but they have pale spots on the upperparts. They are around 23.5 – 29cm in size, and are typically short lived birds, with an average life space between 3-4 years. Only a few are able to reach an advanced age. 

Habitat

Blackbirds are versatile creatures and can be found from city centers to highlands moons, including woodlands, gardens, copses and parks.

Life Cycle
Distribution

Blackbirds can be found almost everywhere worldwide; UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. 

Migration

Widespread throughout Britain, with the exception of Scottish highlands, there is a large migration of blackbirds during winter from Scandinavia, Germany, the Baltic States, and parts of Russia and Finland. However, the British population has been declining since the 1970s but may now be recovering. 

Behaviour

Male blackbirds will establish a territory during their first year that they will hold throughout their lives. This territory is essential for pair formation and nesting. As a monogamous species, once a relationship has been established, they will usually remain together as long as they survive. The male blackbird will attempt to attract the female with a courtship display that will consist of oblique runs combined with head bowing movements, an open beak, and a ‘strangled’ low song. The female in response will remain motionless until she raises her head and tail to permit copulation.

Calls

Blackbirds have a range of vocalizations is produced, including a loud ‘pli-pli-pli’ alarm call, and the fluty, melodious song. A male blackbird has numerous calls which vary given the situation; from a melodious low-pitched flute sound that can be heard from trees, rooftops or other elevated perches in the months on March to June, it can change to an aggressive call for predators such as cats which include various ‘chink and chook, chook’ and ‘pook-pook-pook’ alarm like vocalizations. The territorial male invariably gives chink-chink calls in the evening in an (usually unsuccessful) attempt to deter other Blackbirds from roosting in its territory overnight. 

Food

They are omnivorous and eat a wide range of insects, earthworms, seeds and berries, mainly feeding on the ground. 

Conservation status

Turdus merula, under the IUCN Red List is classified as Least Concerned.

References

Date Accessed: 21/08/2013S

1)      Common Blackbird http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Blackbird

2)      Blackbird (Turdus merula) http://www.arkive.org/blackbird/turdus-merula/

3)      Blackbird http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/b/blackbird/territory_and_social_behaviour.aspx


Description

The Yelkouan Shearwater was first considered as a subspecies of the Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) and has only been considered as a separate species since 2002 (1).  Following this it was split into two separate species in 2004; the Yelkouan Shearwater and the Balearic Shearwater (P. mauretanicus) (2).

Puffinus yelkouan is a medium sized shearwater, measuring 34 to 39 cm in length and having a wingspan between 78 and 90 cm (3).  They have blackish-brown upperparts and almost white under-parts and under-wings.  The tips of the under-wings and the axillary feathers (a) are dark, and there is a dark band across the secondary coverts (b) (4).  Yelkouan Shearwaters living in the west of their range are slightly larger and have a less contrasting pattern, being lighter brown above and a dirtier, brownish white underneath (3) (4).

Habitat

The Yelkouan Shearwater inhabits rocky coasts, offshore islets and islands.  They are considered to be coastal, not pelagic birds (7).

Life Cycle

Distribution

The Yelkouan Shearwater is endemic to the Mediterranean basin, with an estimated population of 11,300 to 54,500 pairs (8).  Precise distributions and population numbers are not well known, and it is feared that most censuses have overestimated the number of birds and the actual global population could be no more than a few thousand breeding pairs (1) (4).

Within Greece Puffinus yelkouan can be found in the eastern Aegean with groups being seen between Samos and Ikaria as well as further south towards Patmos.

Migration

Puffinus yelkouan disperses around the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins outside of the breeding season (2).

Behaviour

 They are gregarious (c) birds which disperse widely around the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins after breeding (2), forming small to large flocks (4).  In Greece flocks of 1000 to 2500 have been recorded during the spring migration, with a record of up to 4000 birds in one instance (5).  They hold their wings stiffly while gliding low over water, in long lines (6).

Calls

From colonies, a cacophony of raucous high-pitched cackles and howls can be heard along with a drawling, repeated “aii-ah-eech” (3) (4).

Food

 The Yelkouan Shearwater feeds on fish, crustaceans (d) and small squid.

Conservation status

Yelkouan Shearwater numbers are in decline, and key colonies have suffered from low breeding success in recent years.  This may lead to accelerated declines when the current breeding birds reach the end of their life cycle (2).  Furthermore, tourism and urbanisation around coasts have damaged breeding habitats and create disturbances (2).

Due to this the Yelkouan Shearwater is a protected species and has been designated as a Near Threatened species by the IUCN (e) (8).  Within Europe it is listed under Annex II of the Bern Convention (f) and Annex I of the EU Birds Directive (g).

References

Description written by Maite Guignard (2009). Edited by Ross Atkinson (2013).

(1)   Bourgeois. K., and Vidal. E. (2007) Yelkouan shearwater nest-cavity selection and breeding success, C. R. Biologies, 330: 205-214

(2)   Bird Life International (2008) Species factsheet: Puffinus mauretanicus [online] Available:

http://www.birdlife.org [date accessed: 07/04/2009]

(3)   Mullarney. K., Svensson. L., Zetterstrom. D., and Grant. P.J. (1999) Collins Bird Guide, Harper Collins Publishers, London

(4)   Jonsson. L. (1992) Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Ltd., London

(5)   Handrinos. G., and Akriotis. T. (1997) The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Ltd., London

(6)   Sterry. P. (2000) Complete Mediterranean Wildlife, Harpers Collins Publishers, London

(7)   Lee. D.S. (1995) The pelagic ecology of Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus off the southeastern United States of America, Marine Ornithology, 23: 107–119

(8)   IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [online] Available:

http://www.iucnredlist.org [date accessed: 24/06/2009]


Description

There are thought to be around six species within the genus Phoenicopterus, only two of which are found outside of northern and southern America; P. roseus (the Greater Flamingo) and P. minor (the Lesser Flamingo).  The Greater Flamingo is the least numerous of the two but is a lot larger and a very distinctive wading bird.

The body of Phoenicopterus roseus is pinkish white, with bright red wing coverts (a) and black flight feathers.  Its long thin legs are entirely pink, and its thick down-turned bill is pink with a black tip.  Juveniles have a grey – white plumage, with the pink colouration developing as they mature.  A mature individual is 120 to 145 cm in height, and has a wingspan of 140 to 170 cm (1).

Habitat

Colonies inhabit shallow saline or brackish (b) water bodies, such as estuaries and salt marshes (3), they have also been observed, at sewage works and inland dams (5).  Breeding and nesting sites are usually on the fringes of these water bodies, such as mudflats or islets (6).  Greater Flamingos rarely utilise purely freshwater locations, except for drinking (7).

Life Cycle
Distribution

The Greater Flamingo is found across Sub-Saharan and western Africa.  It is also a seasonal visitor to the Mediterranean region including northern Greece and the Greek Aegean island of Samos.  It is also found in the Middle-East and Southern Asia (3).

Migration

Populations found in the north migrate to warmer regions in winter.  This migration is dictated by water levels, and prey species composition rather than a direct effect of the cold (3).

Behaviour

They are highly social birds, breeding and nesting in large colonies of up to 20,000 pairs (3).  In these large flocks flamingos perform synchronised breeding displays, extending their bright flight wings, preening and ‘head-flagging’ which involves the flamingo stretching its head and bill up high and then turning the head from side to side (4).

Calls

The Greater Flamingo has a loud, trumpeting ‘ka-haunk’ call, mixed with a deep chatter when a large group of individuals are together (2).

Food

Feeding takes place with their head submerged underwater.  Water is pumped through the mouth by the tongue, filtering out small crustaceans (e) , molluscs (f), worms, in addition to algae and plant matter.  Pigments contained within the crustaceans (e) and algae give the birds their pink colour (9).  Mud is also ingested in order to extract bacteria (7).

Conservation status

The Greater Flamingo is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN (g) (3), due to the vulnerability of its limited number of breeding sites to human disturbance, exploitation and climate change (11).  Even small cases of disturbance have been shown to impact breeding success (12).  Within Europe, although the majority of the populations are in Africa, they are protected under a variety of conventions including Annex II of the Bern Convention (h) and Annex I of the EU Birds Directive (i).  Finally it is globally listed under Appendix II of CITES (j) which deals with the control and trade of wild animals.

References

Description written by Amy Trayler (2011). Edited by Ross Atkinson (2013)

(1)   Mullarney K, Svensson L, Zetterström D, Grant P.J, (1999) The Collins bird guide, Harper Collins Publishers, London

(2)   Alden, P.C., Estes, R.D., Schlitter, D. and McBridge, B. (1996) Collins Guide to African Wildlife, Harper Collins Publishers, London

(3)   Bird Life International. (2010) Phoenicopterus roseusThe Greater Flamingo [online] Available:

http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3769&m=0 [date accessed: 12/01/2011]

(4)   Burton, M. and Burton, R. (2002) International Wildlife Encyclopedia, Third Edition, Marshall Cavendish, New York

(5)   Okes, N. C., Hockey, P. A., Cumming, G. S. (2008) Habitat use and life history as predictors of bird responses to habitat change, Conservation Biology, 22: 151–163.

(6)   del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

(7)   Brown, L. H., Urban, E. K. and Newman, K. (1982) The birds of Africa, Vol I., Academic Press, London

(1)   Greater Flamingo Interactive Atlas (2010) Greater Flamingo Map [online] Available:

http://www.flamingoatlas.org/ [date accessed: 12/01/2011]

(2)   ARKive (2010) Greater Flamingo [online] Available:

http://www.arkive.org/greater-flamingo/phoenicopterus-roseus/ [date accessed: 12/01/2011]

(3)   Glassom, D., and G. M. Branch. (1997) Impact of predation by greater flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus on the macrofauna of two southern African lagoons, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 149: 1–12

(4)   Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) (2010) Greater Flamingo [online] Available:

http://www.wwt.org.uk/text/444/flamingos.html [date accessed: 12/01/2011]

(5)   Béchet, A. and Johnson, A. R. (2008) Anthropogenic and environmental determinants of Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus breeding numbers and productivity in the Camargue (Rhone delta, southern France), Ibis, 150: 69-79


Description

D. urbica is between 13. 5 and 15 centimetres in length (1). The species has a pure white rump and dark upper parts, partly royal blue and part black, along the wings and towards the back end (2). When in flight, the House Martin normally uses a mixture of long glides and is less swift than some of its relatives (1). 

Habitat

The bird uses a broad variety of open terrains (2), and has also been known to nest on cliffs, caves and gorges in remote locations (3, 4). It uses both terrestrial and freshwater systems throughout its range (5). On Crete, the species is known to nest up to 1600 metres above sea level (6). 

Life Cycle
Distribution

This species is found throughout the whole of Europe, however only as a summer visitor (1). There is usually a peak in numbers in April (3). Within the Greek protectorate, it can be found throughout the mainland and on the islands in both the Ionian and the Aegean Seas (3). 

Migration

D. urbica overwinters in Africa and then returns to the continent between March and October (1). 

Behaviour

Very confiding towards Homo sapiens, and uses anthropogenic environments for nest-building and such like. In more natural settings, nests are attached to rock walls or mountain precipices (1). 

Calls

This species tends to be an effusive communicator, especially when in the colonial environment. Calls are similar in sound to “prrit,” although this may alter depending on emotions and the necessity of the situation (1). The song of this bird is more representative of a “babbling twitter” (2). 

Food

This species is insectivorous, and takes them at all altitudes (1; 2). However, most of the insects are taken when higher in the sky (1). The diet is comprised mainly of aphids and flies (4).

 

Conservation status

This is a common and widespread species throughout Greece, however it only arrives in the summer (1). The total breeding population is thought to exceed 50, 000 pairs, possibly as many as 200, 000 (2). The species is listed on the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Amber list (4). This was between 2002 and 2007, due to a recent population decline (4). The species is understood to be declining throughout Europe (4). The IUCN (International Conservation Union) has identified this decline (5),; however the species is still classified as ‘Least Concern’ in the most recent list, from 2012 (5). 

References

Description written by M. James Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J., 1999, Collins Bird Guide: The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.        

            (2) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.        

            (3) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) Robinson R. A., 2005, Common House Martin, Birdfacts: profiles of birds occurring in the U. K., British Trust for Ornithology [Online] (Available at: http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob10010.htm)

            (5) Birdlife International, 2012, Delichon urbicum, in: IUCN 2013, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2013.1 [Online] (Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106007150/0)

            (6) Watson G. E., 1964, Ecology and Evolution of Passerine birds on the islands of the Aegean Sea, PhD. Thesis, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 237 pp. 


Description

This species is more white compared to its close relative, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopus major. The species also has a slightly duller patterning on its head and neck (1). This species also tends to have fewer white spots adorning the tail (2). Females and males are of roughly the same size, however the male can be distinguished by a red mark on the back of the head. 

Habitat

The species can often be found in open habitats, from sea level to medium altitudes (3). This includes open woodland, mostly deciduous and coniferous woodland (3). It can also be found in parks and gardens, and cultivated areas (1), such as vineyards, orchards and public and private gardens and parks (2). 

Life Cycle
Distribution

D. syriacus can be found throughout south-eastern Europe and Western Asia, from the former Yugoslav Republics through the Balkans to the Caucasus and Asia Minor and parts of the Middle East (1). Within Greece, its range is considered to cover the area comprising northern Greece: Thrace, Macedonia and eastern Thessaly(3). There is one sighting from Delphi however D. syriacus has not been encountered since then in that region. Originally, the Greek population of the species was thought to be the sole representative of the European contingent of the species (4). 

Migration

D. syriacus is a sedentary species, remaining within its home distribution (see above) throughout its lifespan (1). 

Behaviour
Calls

As with its appearance, there are some differences and some similarities between the calls of this species and the Great Spotted Woodpecker (1). The bird produces a sound akin to “gip-” – this is repeated if the bird is alarmed (2). When drumming, the pattern is repeated; it begins in a similar vain to that of the Great Spotted Woodpecker, but gradually descends into silence (1).  

Food

Insects make up the bulk of this species’s diet. As with all woodpeckers, it listens for moving larvae and beetles underneath the bark, and then drills into the tree to extract them (4). D. syriacus complements the insects that it catches with fruit and small berries (2), and occasionally some nuts, walnuts and almonds (4). 

Conservation status

The total population size has been estimated for the species, at between five and ten thousand pairs (5). However, it has been suggested that this may be an underestimate – it is more likely that the breeding population is between ten thousand and twenty-five thousand pairs (3; 4). Locally, it is considered to be a common species (3). The species still requires an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List assessment (6), however given its wide range and the number of breeding pairs, it is unlikely that conservation action will be necessary in the near future. 

References

Description written by M. James Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (2) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J.,1999, Collins Bird Guide: The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (3) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) AviBirds, 2013, Syrian Woodpecker, [Online] Available at: http://www.avibirds.com/euhtml/Syrian_Woodpecker.html, Accessed on 23/ 08/ 2013

            (5) Tucker G. M., Heath M. F., 1994, Birds in Europe: their Conservation status, Birdlife Conservation Series No. 3. Birdlife International: Cambridge, U. K.

            (6) IUCN, 2013, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2013.1, [Online] Available at: www.iucnredlist.org/. Accessed on 23/ 08/ 2013 

Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)


Description

The species is similar to a Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) but slightly smaller (1). Males have a black throat and eye-stripe, and a band going across the breast that is olive-green (1). Females tend to be a paler shade of yellow, similar to cream-coloured, across the stomach area (2). The rump tends to be grey, with some flecks of brown within it (2).

Habitat

During the breeding season, individuals are thought to prefer a matrix landscape – in particular, one of small agricultural fields mixed with bushes and small trees (3). Populations can be found from the shoreline up to the tree line (3). The species tends to avoid either open spaces or closed canopy forests (1; 3). It tends to favour a mixture of hedges, gardens, juniper slopes and thorny scrub (2).

Life Cycle
Distribution

E. cirlus breeds over most of the area of mainland Greece, as well as on the islands of both the Aegean and Ionian Seas (3). Here, it is considered to be a resident species, rather than a migrant (3). In large areas of the Mediterranean Basin, this species replaces the Yellowhammer, which is never found in those same regions (2). 

Migration

This species is non-migratory, unlike many species in the Emberiza genus (2). It exists in areas where winters are not severe – throughout southern Europe – and therefore can maintain a sedentary lifestyle throughout the year. The species moves to a lower altitudes within its range at the onset of winter (3). At that time, many individuals move to coastal areas, to escape the coldest months of the year in the highlands (3). 

Behaviour

Calls
Food

In the summer, E. cirlus bases its diet on invertebrates, mainly grasshoppers and crickets (4). During the winter months, this changes; small seeds become preferable, and often the species will eat the overspill from farm sites. Will often combine into flocks in suitable areas surrounding arable lands to take advantage of these seeds (2). 

Conservation status

Within Europe, the species is identified as one of Least Concern (5). In the northern part of its range, particularly within the United Kingdom, the species is recognised as experiencing a population decline (1; 2; 5). In Greece, the breeding population is believed to consist of upwards of fifty thousand pairs, although the total could bas as high as two-hundred thousand pairs (3). The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) has classified E. cirlus as ‘Least Concern,’ however the population is understood to be declining (6).

References

Description written by M. James Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J., 1999, Collins Bird Guide: A complete guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers: London, U. K.

            (2) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (3) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) RSPB, 2010, Farming for Birds: Cirl Bunting, RSPB Advisory sheets no. 00437, [Online] Available at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/cirlbunting_tcm9-148726.pdf. Accessed 23rd August at 3:50 pm

            (5) British Trust for Ornithology, 2013, Cirl Bunting, Emberiza cirlus, [Online] Available at: http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob18580.htm. Accessed 22nd August 2013 at 12:30 pm.

            (6) Birdlife International, 2012, Emberiza cirlus, in: IUCN 2013, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2013. 1 [Online] Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106008933/0. Accessed 23rd August 2013 at 3:32 pm.

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Description

This species has long, pointed wings and a medium-length tail, with a square cut (1). The species is often seen flying low and swiftly over reedbeds and marshes. During the chase, the wings are spaced and clip as they move. The adult appears to have red “trousers,” something that marks it out from the juvenile form (2). When high in the sky it can be mistaken for a Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus (2).

Habitat

This species will often breed in nests in aggregations of trees or in more open woodland (2). It also breeds close to arable land, and in mountain forests (1). In the northern extremes of its range, F. subbuteo will also nest in taiga (boreal or northern coniferous forest) (1). 

Life Cycle
Distribution

Within Greece, the species is found in the northern and central portions of the mainland, as well as in the Peloponnese, and in the Aegean and Ionian Seas (3; 4). It is a summer visitor, mostly from April or May until September (1). The overall abundance and extent of the species through the Greek islands is unknown (3). There are records of pairs on Lesvos, Skiathos and Paxoi (4). Occasionally stops over on Crete (3; 4). 

Migration

F. subbuteo is a summer visitor to Europe (1). It overwinters in sub-saharan Africa (1), south of the Equator (2). Up to ten thousand individuals are thought to spend the winter in China, Japan and Russia (5). 

Behaviour

 

Calls
Food

The diet consists mostly of birds, but F. subbuteo will also take insects (4). Small birds such as swallows are often targeted whilst young falcons are still in the nest (4). 

Conservation status

Worldwide, the species has been classified as being of Least Concern (6). There have been no recent documented breeding records for F. subbuteo on the Greek islands (3; 4). Although, there are occasional pairs which have been located on disparate islands in both the Aegean and Ionian Seas (4). This lack of knowledge surrounding the bird’s distribution may be one threat to its continued survival in the region. The total breeding population throughout the entirety of the country of Greece is thought to be between five hundred and one thousand breeding pairs. The species is understood to be declining in certain locales (7), however it is currently classified as being of ‘Least Concern’ by the International Conservation Union (IUCN) (6). 

References

Description written by M. J. Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J., 1999, Collins Bird Guide: The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (2) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (3) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) Global Raptor Information Network, 2013, Species Account: Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo, [Online] Downloaded from  http://www.globalraptors.org on August 23rd, 2013.

            (5) Brazil M., 2009, Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and eastern Russia, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.  

            (6) Birdlife International, 2012, Falco subbuteo, in: IUCN 2013, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 2013.1 [Online] Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106003610/0, Accessed 23/ 08/ 2013        

            (7) del Hoyo J., Elliott A., Sargatal J. (Eds.), 1992 – 1997, Handbook to the Birds of the World, Vols. 1-4, Lynx: Barcelona, Spain


Description

 F. vespertinus is notable, as its common name suggests, for its red feet (1; 2); these are particularly visible in the male (2). Females have a golden-yellow head and stomach, with blue-grey bars running across the feathers. Males have a light grey stomach, leading into a rusty orange underside near to the abdomen. For juveniles, the bars carry onto the stomach in streaks, which is white. 

Habitat

F. vespertinus lives primarily in open country, in steppe grasslands (2). It can also be found in and around wild-flower meadows and in open river valleys (2). It can be found in heathland (1). Within these environments, it will often use the abandoned rook nest (1). It can also be found in open, cultivated land, for example in vineyards and alfalfa fields (3). 

Life Cycle
Distribution

This species has a very wide distribution, which encompasses a breeding range that stretches through eastern Europe to western, central and north-central Asia (4). Can usually be found in Europe from April through until October (1). 

Migration

 

Behaviour
Calls

 This bird is particularly vocal during the breeding season, as well as at its roost (2). The calls resemble a “kekekekeke…” sound. The males tend to sing faster and at a higher pitch in comparison to females (2). 

Food

Is known to eat frogs and young birds during the nesting season (1). For the rest of the time, the species feeds on a mixture of small insects (2; 4). 

Conservation status

It is difficult to estimate the number of individuals which fly over Greece, and thus there are no reliable figures (3). However, it has been estimated that the total number is in the tens of thousands (3) – between twenty-six thousand and thirty-nine thousand pairs are thought to be permanent residents in Europe (4). The species is on Annex 1 of the EU Birds Birds Directive, and was added in 2004 (4). Hunting or killing of the species is illeagl; however, fifty-two individuals were shot in the Akrotiri British Sovereign Base Area on Cyprus whilst on migration in (5). 

References

Description written by M. James Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (2) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J., 1999, Collins Bird Guide: The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (3) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) Birdlife International, 2013, Species factsheet: Falco vespertinus, [Online] Available at: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=360

            (5) Wildlife Extra News, 2008, Fifty-two Red footed falcons shot in Cyprus, [Online] Available at: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/cyprus-falcons812.html#cr 


Description

The species’ common name comes from its appearance; it is derived from ‘ikteros,’ the ancient Greek word for jaundice, and refers to its sulphur-yellow coloured underside (1). It has a grey-green head, which extends to its tail (2). Some individuals can have be buff-white underneath, and may lack the continuous wing panel (3). It is also noticeable for having a pale-yellow eye ring (3). The genders look equal (2), as do the young and adult forms (1). This species is very direct when flying, with wngs outstretched (4). 

Habitat

H. icterina can be found in a variety of habitats, and can be spotted along forest edges and riversides as well as parks, gardens and orchards (1). Within habitats dominated by trees, it maintains a mostly arboreal lifestyle (2). It can live and breed in both deciduous and areas of pine forest (2). The species is recognised as a fairly common migrant that can be found both on the Greek mainland and throughout many of the islands (5).

 

Life Cycle
Distribution

The species has a wide distribution throughout Continental Europe (1; 3). It is widespread, from eastern France, moving eastwards and northwards up to the eastern Caucasus, the northern Balkans and Scandinavia (4). Populations migrate between August and September, and it then returns between April and May (3). The migratory population can be found throughout Africa, Europe and parts of Asia (6). Within Greece, they occur as passage migrants between the April and May, and from August to September (5). 

Migration
Behaviour
Calls

This species has a very varied song, which is also very melodious (4). sequences are often repeated between two and five times; regularly, the song begins with a sound similar to ‘shrr, shrr, shrr…’ (3). The call tends to be sharper and is normally included within the song (2; 3). From time to time, the normal song pattern can be interspersed with songs or calls made by other species (2). 

Food
Conservation status

Throughout its European range, H. icterina is identified as a species that does not require conservation attention (7). On the IUCN Red List, it has been classified as ‘Least Concern’ (5). 

References

Description written by M. James Rowen (2013)

 

            (1) Heinzel H., Fitter R. F., Parslow J., 1992, Collins Pocket Guide: Birds of Britain and Europe, with North Africa and the Middle East, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (2) Mullarney K., Svensson L., Zetterstrom D., Grant P. J., 1999, Collins Bird Guide: The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain and Europe, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (3) Jonsson L., 2003, Birds of Europe, Chistopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (4) Hume R., 2002, RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe, Dorling Kindersley: London, U. K.

            (5) Handrinos G., Akriotis T., 1997, The Birds of Greece, Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd.: London, U. K.

            (6) Birdlife International, 2012, Hippolais icterina, in: IUCN 2013, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2013.1 [Online] Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/106007636/0. Accessed 26th August 2013

            (7) Robinson R. A., 2005, Icterine Warbler, Birdfacts: profiles of species occurring in Britain and ireland, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) [Online] Available at: http://blx1.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob12590.htm Accessed 26th August 2013