The natural setting of the site

The Maltese Islands are situated about 80 km south of Sicily and 333 km north of Libya. It is a densely-populated country with a population of about half milion people over an area of 316 km2. The main migratory flow of raptors pass along the cliffs on the western side of Malta and concentrate at Buskett Gardens where a relevant percentage roost in the late afternoon. Buskett comprises a small wooded area and a valley, surrounded by hills, and located at 220 m above sea level while the highest point of the archipelago is Ta’ Dmejrek, at 253 m, near Dingli.

The migration survey

Studies on raptor migration started in 1960s while the monitoring of raptors is still going on. The main migratory season is autumn but there is passage of migrating raptors also during spring despite the migration is less constant than in september. The main observed species are: the Western Marsh Harrier and the European Honey buzzard. Regarding this last species, most of migrating individuals are juvenile at their first migration to Africa. Moreover good numbers of small falcons are regularly reported (i.e. Hobby, Kestrel and Lesser kestrel). Raptor counts are mainly conducted by BirdLife Malta.

How to get there?

Malta International Airport is connected with several European countries. There are also boat connections with Sicily.


BirdLife Malta

Main references
  • Beaman M., Galea C. 1974. Visible migration of raptors over the Maltese Islands. Ibis 116: 419-431.
  • Thake M.A. 1980. Gregarious behaviour among migrating Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus. Ibis 122: 500–505.
  • Thake M.A. 1981. Falls of migrating kestrels induced by a cold pool. Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia 51: 241–247.
  • Sultana J., Gauci C. 1982. A new guide to the birds of Malta. The Ornithological Society. Valletta, Malta.
  • Agostini N., Logozzo D., Coleiro C. 1997. Migration of flocks of Honey Buzzards in southern Italy and Malta. Journal of Raptor Research 31: 84-86.
  • Agostini N., Logozzo D., Coleiro C. 1999. The orientation/navigation hypothesis: an indirect evidence in migrating Honey Buzzards. Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia 69: 153-159.
  • Agostini N., Coleiro C., Panuccio M. 2003. Autumn migration of Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus) across the Central Mediterranean. Ring 25, 1-2: 47-52.
  • Agostini N., Coleiro C., Panuccio M. 2004. Analysis of the autumn migration of juvenile honey buzzards Pernis apivorus across the central Mediterranean. Journal of Raptor Research 38: 283-286.
  • Sammut M., Bonavia E. 2004. Autumn raptor migration over Buskett, Malta. British Birds 97: 318-322.
  • Sammut M., Fenech N., Pirotta J.E. 2013. Autumn raptor migration over Malta. British Birds 106: 217-223.