The Owl Pages

Book Synopsis: 'La Civetta in Italia' by Marco Mastrorilli

Little Owls in Italy

Little Owls in Italy

Please Note: This book is in Italian
Publication date: April 2005
Softcover with plastified jacket, 96 pages, 150 mm x 210 mm, colour and bw photographs, colour paintings, line drawings, tables, diagrams.

The Little Owl Athene noctua is a small nocturnal raptor which lives in Europe. Many surveys have been carried on in Belgium, France, Holland and Germany, but this book is the first thorough study on Italian Little Owls. It deals with all the scientifical aspects of this widespread and popular species, featuring specifically the ecology of its Mediterranean populations. Due to the shape of Italy, which spans 1500 kilometres in the Mediterranean Sea, the Little Owl lives in many different habitats, climatic conditions and in a wide altitudinal range. All this makes the study of this species in Italy particularly challenging. La Civetta in Italia is an interesting and inspiring book, not only because it describes all the eco-ethological aspects of the Little Owl, but also because it features some intriguing approaches to the world of this fascinating bird, which has been living close to the humans for thousand years. The Author, one of the foremost European field researchers on Strigidae, describes the most relevant topics in the biology of the Little Owl, but the most important asset of the book is the great deal of informations and data, many of them unpublished so far, on the Italian birds.

Here are some of the most important topics:

  • Systematics of the Italian Little Owl with three presumed subspecies (Athene noctua sarda , A. n. salentina and A. n. chiaradiae)
  • Plumage, with very detailed photographs and paintings
  • Distribution in Italy, with the wide array of ecosystems, from the Mediterranean maquis to the Alps (where the highest nest in Western Europe was found)
  • The Little Owl's diet in Italy by Armando Nappi, renowned Italian mammalogist
  • The playback : the census of Little Owl by playback is slightly different from the same technique for other birds, and requires some adaptations. These adaptations, discovered by the Author on the basis of hundred of hours of field researches, are thoroughly explained
  • Little Owl's mortality and role of rescue centers , with lots of graphics and new data
  • Tables and graphics of distribution, population density and diet

The true innovation of this book is, however, the practical section, divided into four chapters, which is specifically dedicated to the nature enthusiasts who are approaching the world of the Little Owl:

  1. All you need to know about the pellets
  2. How to build and install artificial nests
  3. The Little Owl's census technique by playback
  4. First aid of the Little Owl chick

There is also an intriguing voyage into the history, mythology and Italian folklore of the Little Owl as well as a very rich bibliography with historical Italian references

Table of Contents

Foreword - Credits and acknowledgements - Preface

The world of the Little Owl
Introduction - Systematics, biometrics and distribution - Distribution in Italy - Plumage - The "Italian case": the presumed subspecies

Breeding biology - Artificial nests - How to build and install artificial nests

Food and Feeding
The diet of the Little Owl in Italy (by Armando Nappi) - Pellets: how to study the Little Owl feeding habits

Face to face with the Little Owl
Interspecific relationships - Vocalizations and playback - "A night with the Little Owl" : the ABC of playback

The Little Owls in danger
Mortality - The Little Owl and the rescue centers in Italy - First aid of the chick

Conservation strategies
The future of the Little Owl in Italy

Relationship with man
History, myths and folklore of the Little Owl in Italy - The Little Owl in the net - The Italian Group on Little Owl (Gruppo Italiano Civette)



About the Author
Marco Mastrorilli has been studying the Little Owl in Italy since 1990. He is the author of many scientifical papers on the Little Owl and other nocturnal raptors, as well as a lecturer at national and international meetings. He is the founder of the Gruppo Italiano Civette (Italian Group on Little Owl)

Who will be interested in this book?
Ornithologists, mammalogists and general biologists, students of biology and natural sciences, nature lovers and birdwatchers.

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