Cape Otranto


The natural setting of the site

Cap Otranto is a promontory located at the easternmost site of Italy, when the Adriatic sea merges with the Ionian sea, and the distance from the coast of the Balkans (Albania) is the lowest one. The best observation post, being the only one that allows to detect the departure of migrating raptors crossing the sea, thus avoiding double counting, is located at ca. 1 km North of the lighthouse, just beside the coastal road. The landscape is characterized by a rocky coast, Mediterranean shrubs and pseudo-steppic vegetation.

The migration survey

Observations have been carried out mainly sporadically and few standardized surveys have been published. This area is important only during spring migration, when thousands of raptors, mainly on a broad front, start the crossing of the Adriatic sea towards the Balkans. All four species of harriers are regularly observed, as well as Red-footed falcon and Lesser kestrel. For those species Capo d’Otranto is also an important stop-over area, and it is possible to observe these raptors during their foraging activities.

How to get there?
The closest airport is Brindisi, located at ca. 90 km.

MEDRAPTORS (Mediterranean Raptor Migration Network)

Main references

  • Premuda G., Mellone U. & Cocchi L. 2004. Osservazioni sulla modalità della migrazione primaverile dei rapaci a Capo d’Otranto. Avocetta, 28 (1): 33-36.