Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 83–89

Effectiveness of vocal activities of the Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) during breeding

  • Giovanni Leonardi
  • Mirko Amato
  • Antonio Brogna
  • Maria Cipriano
  • Roberto D’Angelo
  • Giuseppina Dipasquale
  • Vincenzo Mannino
  • Adua Ossino
  • Alessandro Andreotti
Original Article

Abstract

Detailed information is still lacking on structure and duration of calls of diurnal birds of prey as well on their vocal repertoire. The Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus) is considered a shy less-vociferous species but no quantitative data exist. Field evidence demonstrates that in the last decades this falcon did not improve its threatened status in Italy. We investigated call frequencies and their durations to ascertain the effectiveness of these signals, especially during the breeding season. In particular, if calls are honest signals about the genetic quality of males. We carried out this study during two breeding seasons in eastern Sicily where we monitored 25 nesting attempts at 19 breeding sites. During 114 observational sessions, we recorded (1) which sex uttered calls, (2) type of vocalisation (wailing and creaking calls) and (3) bird positions (flying or perched). In addition, we recorded duration of each vocal event because it seems to be significantly correlated with male quality. We checked nests annually to ascertain the number, age and gender of nestlings. Lanner mates employ calls mainly in crucial reproductive stages (courtship, incubation, the first week after hatching and when young are fledging) optimising their efforts. In addition, males performing shorter vocal events produce broods significantly smaller in size and with a sex ratio biased towards females. In addition, they seem to desert the breeding site in the subsequent year. We suppose that in Italian fragmented breeding populations of Lanners, call structure and rates can predict population viability.

Keywords

Vocal behaviour Honest signalling Call frequency Falco biarmicus Sicily 

Zusammenfassung

Effektivität von Rufaktivitäten des Lannerfalken (Falco biarmicus) während der Brutsaison

Es gibt nach wie vor keine detaillierten Informationen über die Struktur und Dauer von Rufen tagaktiver Greifvögel sowie über ihr Lautrepertoire. Der Lannerfalke (Falco biarmicus) gilt als scheue, weniger lautstarke Art, doch quantitative Daten sind nicht vorhanden. Hinweise aus Feldstudien zeigen, dass sich der gefährdete Status dieses Falken in Italien in den letzten Jahrzehnten nicht verbessert hat. Wir haben Ruffrequenzen und -dauer ermittelt, um die Effektivität dieser Signale zu untersuchen, insbesondere während der Brutsaison. Wir haben uns besonders darauf konzentriert, ob die Rufe zuverlässige Signale sind, welche die genetische Qualität von Männchen anzeigen. Wir haben diese Studie während zweier Brutsaisons in Ostsizilien durchgeführt, wo wir 25 Brutversuche an 19 Brutplätzen beobachtet haben. In 114 Beobachtungssitzungen haben wir aufgezeichnet: (1) Geschlecht, das rief, (2) Ruftyp („klagende“und „knarrende“Rufe) und (3) Position des Vogels (fliegend oder sitzend). Außerdem haben wir die Dauer jeder Lautäußerung aufgezeichnet, da diese anscheinend signifikant mit der Männchenqualität korreliert. Einmal jährlich kontrollierten wir die Nester, um Anzahl, Alter und Geschlecht der Nestlinge zu bestimmen. Beim Lannerfalken rufen Partner hauptsächlich in wichtigen Fortpflanzungsstadien (Balz, Bebrütungsphase, erste Woche nach dem Schlupf und Ausfliegen der Jungvögel) und optimieren ihre „Bemühungen“. Außerdem produzieren Männchen mit kürzeren Lautäußerungen signifikant kleinere Bruten mit einem zu Weibchen hin verschobenen Geschlechterverhältnis. Darüber hinaus verlassen sie anscheinend ihren Brutplatz im folgenden Jahr. Wir vermuten, dass in italienischen, fragmentierten Populationen des Lannerfalken Rufstruktur und Rufhäufigkeit Maße für die Qualität der Population sind.

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Leonardi
    • 1
  • Mirko Amato
    • 2
  • Antonio Brogna
    • 1
  • Maria Cipriano
    • 3
  • Roberto D’Angelo
    • 1
  • Giuseppina Dipasquale
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Mannino
    • 1
  • Adua Ossino
    • 2
  • Alessandro Andreotti
    • 4
  1. 1.Osservatorio NaturaCataniaItaly
  2. 2.Studio-Natura Mediterraneo, Environmental StudiesLentiniItaly
  3. 3.Functional Proteomics Laboratory, Biotechnology DepartmentSiena UniversitySienaItaly
  4. 4.Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA)Ozzano dell’Emilia, BolognaItaly

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