If the mammalian fauna of Etna may have a certain degree of autochthonous appearance, this is not true for the birds who, because, of their increased mobility, can spread over more freely.
Almost any bird that lives in Sicily, both permanently or on the way to somewhere else, can be found in the Etna region, provided they are suitable environments to them: thus, for example, waders and ducks are underrepresented, while there are numerous and various birds of prey the passerines.
Of all these species, many are on the way to somewhere else or sometimes they place their nest in Etna, some are permanent, some are sedentary, others blood.
Certainly would not make sense to provide here a long list of birds (Etna they have been reported over 100 species), so we will just make mention of those that seem more common and more interesting, focusing more our attention on raptors (Strigiformes and Falconiformes), which, wrongly considered "harmful" are among the birds that most of the others have been subjected to relentless persecution.
Of these owls prey, of crepuscular and nocturnal habits, they are all useful animals as eaters of rats, reptiles and insects, for which hunting is prohibited, we shall remember: Barn [photo] (Tyto alba Scoppa.).
From the family of the Titonidi, measuring up to 34 cm and has a heart-shaped facial disc that surrounds the eyes, the legs are long and covered with feathers almost to his fingers, of which the median is fitted with a serrated claw.
The wings are well developed and quite sharp.
The plumage, whitish ventrally, is more reddish-gold with dark spots, the eyes relatively small, they are dark in colour.
Primarily nocturnal habits, it feeds on small vertebrates, particularly mice and voles, resulting therefore very useful in agriculture, during the day he takes refuge in dark places (hollow trees, small caves, church steeples, attics, etc.).. He reproduces in spring and, if conditions are good, even in autumn. -Eared owl (Asio otus L.). Represents the family of Strigidi. He is about 35 cm long, has reddish-gray speckled plumage on the dorsal, fawn with broad stripes and thin strikethrough on the ventral side.
The head is adorned by two characteristic tufts of feathers, the eyes are yellow.
Hr preferably lived in the forests of coniferous and mixed forests, feeding on small mammals, invertebrates and other birds. Usually nests in hollow trees and often uses abandoned nests of choroid. Allocco [photo] (Strix aluco L.).
From the family of the Strigidi, measuring about 38 cm and has the plumage of brown and thick speckles. The head, big and round, is typically devoid of the ear tufts of feathers that characterize most of the family.
He is frequently on the wooded areas, cultivated fields and also in the parks. He feeds on small vertebrates, especially rodents and birds. He nests in cavities of trees, rocks and even walls.
Owl [photo] (Athene black cutworm Scop.) From the family of Strigidi is about 20-22 cm long and has big head, rounded and a bit flat, with short, hooked beak. Facial discs are not so wide over the eyes that are large, round and with the bright yellow iris.
The wings and tail are short, the legs, well developed and covered with feathers, have their fingers armed with strong claws and covered with feathers setoliformi.
The plumage is brown with whitish spots at the top, white streaked with brown in the lower parts.
Active in the early hours of dawn and the dusk, preferably living in open places but can also be found in rocky places and even in towns.
It feeds on small vertebrates and many invertebrates, especially earthworms and large insects, making it therefore very useful to humans. Normally he reproduces at the end of winter.
Horned or close [photos] (Otus scops L.).
From the family of Strigidi, measuring about 19 cm and is characterized by ear tufts which raises when scared, the eyes are relatively large.
The plumage is gray-brown with darker streaks. She usually lives in open places but can be found in rocky gorges, in the Mediterranean, in parks and gardens.
Active at dusk and at night, it feeds mainly on large insects, especially grasshoppers, but also prey mice and small birds. And the male night song is very well-known, a "choo" which echoes every 2-3 seconds, often in long series. Falconiformes Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus L.).
About 55 cm long, has dark brown plumage on the dorsal part, clear and dark with strikethrough and signs on the ventral side. Similar to the buzzard, especially during the flight, is distinguished for having a smaller head, longer neck, narrower and more developed wings and the tail adorned with a dark terminal band and two bands closer to the base . It is frequently in the scrub, wooded and clearing areas. In addition to small mammals, he feeds mainly on wasps, including larvae, and other large insects. He nests in trees, frequently using the old nests of other large birds. Marsh Harrier (Circus aerugiuosus L.).
Fifty centimeters long, has most of his plumage of brownish colour. In the adult male, tail, and some secondary coverts of the wings are gray ash, while the lower parts are reddish brown, the female is dark brown with clear head and shoulders. It prefers marshes and wet places generally, but is found even in the open countryside and areas of rich herbaceous vegetation.
It eats small vertebrates.
It nests usually on the ground among the vegetation near water places. Kestrel (Falco tinuunculus L.). 32 to 34 cm long, has a wingspan of about 80 cm. The plumage of the male, brown on the top, yellowish ventrally, is decorated with black spots, the female and youth have a dark brown back with strikethrough.
Prevalent in various environments, from sea level up to higher altitudes, is found frequently even in cities, where it nests on towers, tall buildings, ruins, etc.. It feeds on small vertebrates (mice, lizards) and less frequently large insects. Falcon (Falco peregrinus Tunst.).
So called because of the ease with which he moves from one place to another, this bird is about fifty centimeters long, has squat appearance, with large head and short tail.
The bill, bluish-gray with a black tip, is short, very curved and fitted with a robust tooth in the upper branch, the nostrils are open and provided with characteristic tubercles.
The wings are very developed and at rest reaching the end of the queue. The plumage, at the upper part, is gray-blue with numerous dark bands, the head is black, while the throat and the front of the neck are white, the remaining lower parts are ash-coloured with shades of reddish and brown spots.
Prefers the open spaces and sparse woodlands, its preferred prey are other birds, hares and rabbits. Spread almost all over the world, in Europe is in sharp decline. Golden kite (Milvus 1Vlilvus L.).
Up to 75 cm long, has short and thick trunk, with very long wings, very slender and pronged tail and the head is large with sunken eyes, bent and long beak, the legs short and weak.The feathers, whitish on the head, they are basically brown with black spots.
He prefers lowland forests where it feeds on small vertebrates, insects and dead animals. Buzzard (Buteo buteo L.).
Up to 65 cm long and has large eyes, well developed and rounded wings and beak with winding branch, the tail has a modest development. The plumage colour is variable, usually uniformly brown on top, with brown-gray tail, tawny white with brown spots ventrally. Lives in different environments, feeding mainly on small rodents. Sparrowhawk (Accipiter visus L.).
Small rapacious (up to 40 cm), the plumage colour varies according to age, generally dark grayon top, white-red with broad blackish transverse bands on the belly. Golden eagle (Aquila cbrysaétos L.). Widespread in the northern hemisphere, has a wingspan that can reach two meters, is brown with golden reflections.
The beak is strong and sturdy and his curved legs are covered with feathers and equipped with very strong claws. Usually nests in inaccessible places, usually laying two white eggs which are incubated by the female only. Equipped with acute sight, preferably feeds on small mammals and even other birds.
Rare in Sicily, where, however, thre were recently reported a number of nesting.
Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciatus Vicil.). She is a more slender than the Golden eagle has dark brown plumage on its back and head, while the breast is white with black spots.
Prefers rich areas of water where she also feeds on reptiles and amphibians. From the sparrows we have to remember the countless corvids, such as the raven [photo] (Corvus corax L.), the Crow (Corvus corone L.) and the ubiquitous magpie (Pica pica L.), still, are well known, the Starling ( Sturnus vulgaris L.) and the Jay bird (Garrulusglandarius L.), the greenfinch (Chloris chloris L.), the goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis L.), the chaffinch [photo] (Fringilla coelebs L.), the Italian sparrow ( Italian Sparrow Vieille.), the tree sparrow (Passer montanus, L.), the Serin (Serinus Serinus L.), black bunting (Emberiza cirlus L.), the krestel (Galerida cristata L.), skylark (Alauda arvensis L.), the pipit (Anthus pratensis L.), Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita Vieil.) many warblers including the sardinian warbler (Sylvia rnelanocephala Gm.) and the blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla L.), some species of thrushes, including the blackbird (Turdus merula L.), and Hook (Oenanthe), wren (Troglodytes troglodytes L.), swallow (Hirundo rustica L.), robin (Erithacus rubecula L.). The highest of these passerines, if not disturbed and not exterminated by pesticides grows fast and ends up colonizing the gardens of the villas and the homes of the neighbouring villages.
The most attached ones to the woods are the nuthatch (Sitta europaea L.), golden oriole (Oriolus Oriolus L.), short toed tree-creeper (Certhia brachydactyla Brehm), and several species of Parus, as the blue tit (Parus caerulens L.), the great tit (Parus nzajor L.) is particularly appealing the cruise (Loxia curvirosta L.) with a beak in form of a cross, with the red male and the green female, who lives in the coniferous forest. Other forest dwellers are the Piciformes as the green woodpecker [photo] (Picus viridis L.) and the great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major L.).
We should remember, for other orders less rich in species, from the the Caprimulgiformes family the Caprimulgiformesucciacapre (Caprinzulgus europaeus L.), the hoopoe Coraciiformes [photo] (Upupa epops L.) between the Columbiformes, the wild pigeon (Columba livia Gin.) And the Turtledove [ photos] (Streptopelia turtur L.); among the Galliformes the quail (Coturnix coturnix L.) and the Sicilian rock partridge (Alectorisgraeca whitakeri Schl.) racial exclusivity of our island. In Etna aquatic birds are not very common, they typically belong to the Anseriformes Ciconiformes, because of the extreme scarcity of wetlands, except for the Lake Gurrida in particular where it may be able to find many species; the little egret (Egretta garzetta L.), the Grey heron (Ardea cinerea L.), the bittern (Nycticorax nycticorax L.), and various ducks like the mallard [photo] (Anas platyrbynchos L.), the teal (Anas crecca L.), and the Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope L.).