First workshop on Kentish Plover in Italy

Written by Massimo Biondi & Loris Pietrelli

On 18 Spetember 2010 GAROL (Gruppo Attività e Ricerche Ornitologiche del Litorale) organized the first National Conference on Kentish Plover in Bracciano (Rome), Italy. The main goal of the conference was to go deep into the effective situation of this species in Italy. During the conference 70 Italian researchers from 15 different regions presented a total of 38 works.

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Participants of the conference.

Based on coordinated surveys on Kentish Plover populations, located in Italy, were estimated and in some cases, data regarding the apparent survival of adults and juveniles were reported. During the conference local ornithologists of each region introduced the current state of Kentish Plover based on survey results from the period of 2008-2010. The constant monitoring of nesting and wintering sites throughout the seasons and years shows that in many Italian littorals Kentish Plover is dramatically decreasing.

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Nesting Kentish Plover.

In particular, considering the breeding populations, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Latium and in Campania, Charadrius alexandrinus seems to be close to the extinction (<10 breeding pairs).

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Kentish Plover nests on littoral zone.

About 80% of the pairs are located in three Regions (Sardinia, Veneto and Sicily) and in particular in a few large sites. During the 2008-2010 survey period, the Italian breeding population were estimated between 1,500-1,850 pairs and where data allowed calculation resulted negative trends exclusively (compared to result of 2000-2005 survey period). The future of this unstable breeding populations of the Italian littorals is dramatically uncertain. For each region the most important causes of the significant decline in the size of breeding populations of Kentish Plover are as follows:

  • habitat degradation (transformation and habitat loss; habitat fragmentation; marine erosion; wetland drainage, water levels and vegetation growth);
  • anthropic disturbances due to leisure activities (sun baths and trampling; fishing; off roads vehicle transit; kite surfing; eggs and chicks collecting);
  • mechanical cleanings of beaches during the entire reproductive season.

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Beach cleaning activity is one of the threatening factors which affect the breeding success of Kentish Plover.

Data on breeding success are scarce and dishomogeneous. As a typical example on Latium the breeding success of Kentish Plover plummeted from 29.3% to 11.4%.

Kentish Plover populations were estimated of a range of 2,421-3,214 individuals during the wintering period (2008-2010) which is more or less equal to the previous survey.

Natural predation (feral mammals, vagrant dogs and cats, Corvidae, Laridae, snakes and Kestrel) is an additional problem for the survival of the species in Italy.

The National Conference promoted a final act with the creation of a coordinated Working Group as well as some future actions, like a national LIFE project for the conservation of the Kentish Plover during 2011. A volume of the conference proceedings is to be published by Edizioni Belvedere (info@edizionibelvedere.it) during the summer 2011.

Abstracts of talks can be reached via this link.

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