Circeo Promontory


The natural setting of the site

The Circeo Promontory (41°12′N, 13°03′E) is located along the Tyrrhenian coast of Central Italy, at the southernmost point of the Pianura Pontina, reaching 541 m a.s.l. The area is enclosed in the Circeo National Park north of the Promontory are located large wetlands. The Promontory is approximately 500 km northeast of Tunisia. The Ponziane Islands are nearly always visible from this watch-point; the closer island is Zannone, about 30 km south-southwest of the promontory.
The main watchpoint used to study migrating raptors is on the roof of a building inside a military area (altitude approx. 400 m) and it is not possible to enter there without a permission. However it is possible to observe raptors from the paths on the ridge of the mountain.

The migration survey

Observations occurred in autumn from 1998 to 2002 while more recently the National Park promoted some observations activity. The main migrating species are: juvenile European Honey Buzzards and Western Marsh Harriers. The best period to see the migration is September. It is not easy to make an accurate count of migrants because several raptors don’t start the crossing especially in the afternoon. In some days it is possible to observe tens of Western Marsh Harriers roosting on trees.

How to get there?

The closest airport is in Rome, from there it is possible to reach Circeo National Park by train or by bus. With the Rome-Naples railway line via Formia, using the trains stopping at Priverno-Fossanova FS railway station, where the CO.TRA.L bus line to Sabaudia leaves. From the station CO.TRA.L. Metro/Bus Eur Fermi in Rome, by taking the direct bus line or those changing in Latina, in the direction of Sabaudia.

MEDRAPTORS (Mediterranean Raptor Migration Network)

Main references

  • Panuccio M. & Agostini N. 2010. Comparison of the water-crossing behavior of Western Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus) and European Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) during autumn migration. Chinese Birds 1(1): 30-35.
  • 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.
  • Agostini N., Coleiro C. & Panuccio M. 2003. Autumn migration of Marsh Harriers across the central Mediterranean in 2002. Ring, 25: 47-52.
  • Agostini N. & Panuccio M. 2003. How do Accipitriformes behave during autumn migration at the Circeo promontory? Rivista italiana di Ornitologia, 73(2): 165- 167.
  • Agostini N., Coleiro C., Corbi F., Di Lieto G., Pinos F. & Panuccio M. 2002. Water-crossing tendency of juvenile Honey Buzzards during migration. Avocetta, 26: 41-43.
  • Corbi F., Pinos F., Trotta M., Di Lieto G., Cascianelli D. 1999. La migrazione post-riproduttiva dei rapaci diurni nel promontorio del Circeo (Lazio). Avocetta 23: 13.