The natural setting of the site

Marettimo is a mountainous island of 12 km2, lying about 30 km off Western Sicily and 20 km west of the islands of Levanzo and Favignana. This island is located at the narrowest point of the central Mediterranean, about 130 km NE of the Cap Bon promontory (Tunisia). Monte Falcone is its highest relief, reaching 686 m. The best observation point is called “Semaforo”, being at an altitude of ca. 500 m. Is it possible to reach the post with a 1.5 hour walk from the village.

The migration survey

Observations started in the 1997 and highlighted the importance of Marettimo during both migrations, especially during autumn, when flocks of hundreds of Honey buzzards and Black kites can be observed, together with tens of Egyptian vultures, and late in the season, also juvenile Short-toed eagles. Is very exciting to observe hundreds of raptors circling over the sea, sometimes for many hours, before to start the crossing towards Africa. The Lesser spotted eagle is also a regular migrant, although very scarce. During spring the most abundant species is the Honey buzzard and between 2004 and 2013 regular spring counts were carried out by LIPU (Birdlife Italy), within the “Progetto Rapaci Migratori”.

How to get there?

The closest airport are Palermo an Trapani, the is it possible to reach the island with a (ferry) boat from Trapani.

MEDRAPTORS (Mediterranean Raptor Migration Network)

Main references

  • Agostini N., Gustin M., von Hardenberg J. & Panuccio M. 2016. Wind patterns affect migration flyways and flock size of a soaring bird over sea. Avian Biology Research 9(3): 159-166.
  • Panuccio M., Gustin M. & Bogliani G. 2011. A comparison of two methods for monitoring migrating broad-winged Raptors approaching a long water crossing. Avocetta 35: 13-17.
  • Agostini N., Panuccio M., Lucia G., Liuzzi C., Amato P., Provenza A., Gustin M. & Mellone U. 2009. Evidence for age-dependent migration strategies in the Short-toed Eagle. British Birds 102(9): 506-508.
  • Agostini N., Cardelli C. & Gustin M. 2007. Factors shaping pathways of European Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) during spring migration in the Central Mediterranean basin. Journal of Raptor Research 41(1): 57-61.
  • Agostini N., Premuda G., Mellone U., Panuccio M., Logozzo D., Bassi E. & Cocchi L. 2005. Influence of wind and geography on orientation behavior of adult Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus during migration over water. Acta Ornithologica, 40: 71-74.
  • Agostini N., Premuda G., Mellone U., Panuccio M., Logozzo D., Bassi E. & Cocchi L. 2004. Crossing the sea en route to Africa: autumn migration of some Accipitriformes over two central Mediterranean islands. Ring, 26: 71-78.
  • Agostini N. 2001. Spring migration in relation to sex and age of Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus in a central Mediterranean island. Ardeola, 48: 71-73.
  • Agostini N., Logozzo D. & Panuccio M. 2000. The island of Marettimo (Italy), important bird area for the autumn migration of raptors. Avocetta, 24:95-99.