The birds - Orto botanico 'Pellegrini - Ansaldi'

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The birds

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
It is a diurnal raptor of big dimensions (the wingspan is of 190-230 cm); as in the large part of raptors, the female is bigger than the male.
It lives in mountain or steep environments, with poor anthropic disturbance. It is a monogamous animal: the couple form big nests on inaccessible rocky ledges or more rarely on trees, usually breeding only one chick.
It also hunts animals of considerable size, such as marmots, partridges, hares, foxes etc.
In the Apuans the species is indicated as nesting.

The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
It is a medium-small falconid (the wingspan is of about 75 cm) with wings quite long and pointed and long tail.
It nests on rocky ledges, abandoned nests of corvids and usually on buildings. It hunts small mammals, reptiles and insects, with a technique called “holy spirit”, that consists of staying immobile against the wind, with a fast wing beat; in this way, after having identified the prey, it pounces on it with short dives.

The alpine chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)
It is a corvid with black plumage, with yellow beak and red paws.
It is found in Italy on the Alps and on the central-southern Apennine. The Apuan population, the only one in Tuscany, is probably the most isolated and the less numerous among those present on the Italian mountains.
Its breeding season is from May to July; it often builds nests on ravines and caverns in natural environment.
On the Apuans, it lives commonly on the mountain prairies and the highest peaks of the chain, nearly always in groups, also numerous.

The common buzzard (Buteo buteo)
It is a diurnal raptor of medium dimensions (the wingspan is of 100-125 cm). The plumage is brown coloured on the back and lower parts, with ample white spots on the wings. It nests on trees or on cliffs and it lives more or less in all types of woodland setting, the wooded countrysides and in the areas more or less anthropized. It eats small mammals, reptiles, birds and beetles, not disdaining those dead or victims of trafficking. In the Apuan area it is found from the sea level to the highest altitudes and it is seen more often. It is easily mistaken for the eagle, from which it can be distinguished because it is smaller.

The hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix)
It is a corvid of medium-big dimensions with black head, beak and wings; the back and the lower parts are grey coloured.
It is an omnivorous species, it feeds on the ground, often causing damages to the agricultural productions; the diet includes also eggs and nestlings of other birds. It is very adaptable; it lives in open environments, represented by landscapes cultivated with not too dense trees. It avoids the dense forests; it likes to live in dumps. It is very easy to see it and identify it, also courtesy of the typical crackly call. In the air it looks like a raptor, showing the points of the wings “digitates”; it is generally seen in groups.

The red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
The plumage is entirely black with metallic blue reflections; the term “coral” recalls the colour of the paws and of the long curved beak, with which inspects the substratum moving the pebbles and rolling them down the valley. It is found in Italy on the western Alps, central-southern Apennine and in Sardinia. The Apuan population, the only one in Tuscany, it is probably the most isolated of Italy. The breeding season is from April to June; it builds nests on an average altitude lower than the alpine chough, also in the anthropized areas like abandoned or operative quarries.
In winter it effects limited altitudinal movements, descending on lower altitudes to eat.
The red-billed chough is present in the symbol of the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps.

The common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
It is a partially migratory species, it passes the winter in the Mediterranean area and in the south-western Asia, creating autumn and spring mass movements, usually characterised by separate migrations of males and females in different periods. It nests in the vegetation; it has a granivore diet, as it suggests the robust appearance of the beak. On the Apuans it is one of the most widespread ornithic species during the whole year.

The great tit (Parus major)
It is easily recognisable for the head with black top and white cheeks, the greenish back, grey-light blue wings and the lower parts are yellow with a central black stria, bigger for males.
It nests in natural caves or in artefacts. It eats insects that seeks actively both on the ground or on the trees or bushes, often hanging upside down from branches with a hunting behaviour typical of the tits.
In the Apuan region, the great tit is found in all the woodlands.

The grey wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
It has a white-brown plumage on the head and on the back, yellow on the shoulders and on the lower parts; in the breeding period the male has an evident black throat, while in the female there can be seen black punctuations. It has a white eyebrow.
The tail is particularly long and dark with the external white rectrices.
When it is placed on the ground, the grey wagtail shakes its long tail up and down, with a typical “dancing” movement from which it derives the name.
It nests along the hilly and mountain waterways, recessed and with the wooded shores; it has an insectivorous diet.

The black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
It is an adult male with a charcoal colour, with tail rust coloured and white wing panel; the female is greyish with tail rust coloured.
When it is placed on the ground, it shakes its tail in a characteristic flickering way, simultaneously with a body movement similar to a bow.
It lives in rocky environments, preferring the hilly and mountain ones.
It nests commonly in caves, stone buildings, drywalls, ravaneti and querries.
On the Apuans it is the most widespread species in the mountain prairies, especially where there are rocky outcrops on which it is easy to observe it in its typical posture.

The coal tit (Parus ater)
It has a black throat and head with white spots on the cheeks and on the nape of its neck; the back is with grey tones, with the lower parts gradient suede-coloured.
It nests in caves, it has an insectivorous diet and it moves commonly between the leafy branches, dangling upside down with the typical attitude of hunt of tits; it often forms mixed temporary groups with other species of tits and nuthatches.
In the Apuan area it is found on the wooded environments, in the reforested conifer areas and in the beech woods.

The white wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Its throat, harness, top and nape of its neck are black; the rest of the head and the lower parts are white. The back is grey and the tail is white and black, as well as the wings. It lives in the open areas, cultivated and also in anthropized environments; it nests preferably along the hilly and mountain waterways, recessed and with the wooded shores; it eats insects and larvae.
When it is placed on the ground, it shakes its long tail up and down.
It is very common and widespread in Tuscany, on the Apuans it is frequent in the open environments on about 1000 m of altitude.
L'ORTO BOTANICO PIETRO PELLEGRINI, Un giardino alpino nel Parco Regionale delle Alpi Apuane
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