At the Strait of Messina migrating birds fly over the valleys and the highlands of the Aspromonte mountain, as well as along the reliefs located close the Tyrrhenian coast. Our watchsites are located few kilometres north-west from the Strait. Birds migrating between Sicily and continental Italy show different migration strategies, since raptor species which are better adapted in using powered flight tend to undertake long sea crossings, using more direct flyways to reach central Italy and bypassing the Strait in good weather conditions. Moreover, comparing the passage across spring and autumn, there are species observed in good numbers during one season but in very low numbers during the other one. For instance, pallid harrier and red-footed falcon are regular migrants during spring but they are rare during autumn, with the opposite occurring for lesser kestrels.

In this page are reported the numbers of raptors and storks counted last year from our watch-sites at the Strait. Our daily counts are uploaded on trektellen, an international website where ornithological stations upload every day their field observation, as well as band data.

Soaring birds observed migrating at the Strait of Messina from single watch-points during 2015.

Specie Autumn Spring
Accipiter gentilis 0 2
Accipiter nisus 59 47
Aquila pennata 43 27
Aquila pomarina 1 0
Buteo buteo 47 1
Buteo rufinus 0 1
Ciconia ciconia 39 9
Ciconia nigra 36 42
Circaetus gallicus 16 0
Circus aeruginosus 2777 1222
Circus macrourus 5 74
Circus pygargus 77 65
C. pygargus/macrourus 28 75
Falco biarmicus 0 1
Falco sp. 26 32
Falco subbuteo 41 12
Falco naumanni 10 16
Falco tinnunculus 59 12
F. tinnunculus/naumanni 1453 25
Falco verspertinus 5 68
Milvus migrans 2833 281
Milvus milvus 2 0
Neophron percnopterus 1 1
Pandion haliaetus 24 4
Pernis apivorus 12720 13167
Unidentified raptors 724 0
Total 21027 15190


Here below a graph showing the timing of the passage of Honey Buzzards at the Strait of Messina during spring 2016 at both sides of the Strait, Sicily (Serro) and Solano (Calabria).