Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy)



1. Vol. Anatidae-Alcidae
published in 2018

512 pages, 384 species (including 109 species with rejected records), 181 distribution maps, 100 graphs and 82 colour photographs


2. Vol. Pteroclidae-Locustellidae
published in 2020

416 pages, 229 species (including 88 species with rejected records), 125 distribution maps, 15 graphs and 82 colour photographs

3. Vol. Cisticolidae-Icteridae
 published in 2022

436 pages, 249 species (including 26 uptated species from the previous volumes and 77 with rejected records), 117 distribution maps, 30 graphs and 82 colour photographs

 Geography, Bioclimate and Vegetation of Italy
 A brief history of Italian Ornithology (with updates)
The Italian fossil record of birds
 Introduction to the species accounts
Species accounts
Appendix 1. Additional Species. Cisticolidae-Cardinalidae (Category D, E)
Appendix 2. Breeding species of conservation concern

Appendix 3. Reports of the Italian Rarities Committee (COI-Commissione Ornitologica Italiana)
Appendix 4.
Updates and corrections to previous volumes
Index of scientific, English and Italian names


Foreword by Mauro Fasola
ipartimento di Scienze della Terra e dell’Ambiente, Università degli Studi di Pavia

Ornithologists have been waiting a whole century for an update on the Italian avifauna, since the historic achievements by Giacinto Martorelli (Gli uccelli d'Italia, 1906) and by Ettore Arrigoni degli Oddi (Ornitologia italiana, 1929). Such a long interval was due to a diminished interest in birds and nature in general, that persisted in our country during the central part of the twentieth century. But since the 1970s a wealth of new information has been collected, thanks to a renewed interest in bird life by both professional and amateur researchers.

Now this authoritative compilation by Pierandrea Brichetti and Giancarlo Fracasso fills the gap and provides an updated account of the distribution, movements and population of birds in Italy. The text, classically organised by species, is concise but exceptionally rich in detailed and verified data. This work results from a lifetime of dedication by the authors in collecting all the information available on Italian birds from books, journal papers, grey literature, personal communications, and not least from their own extensive experience. Notably, this work includes all the information extracted from the large number of ornithological atlases of Italy that have been published during the past four decades, totalling about a hundred regional and local atlases of breeding birds.

This updated version in English of the recent volumes in Italian provides an account of the avifauna of Italy to the widest audience, while establishing the necessary base of knowledge for further studies on avian biology. Thanks to this work and to the mounting concern for Nature, we can look forward confidently to improvements in our knowledge on the vertebrates of Italy and in the initiatives for their conservation during the coming decades.


Preface by the Authors

In Italy, as in the rest of Europe, there has been a dramatic increase in ornithological data collected by research institutions and the birdwatching community over the past two decades. Unfortunately, the information is published in such a wide variety of journals, conference proceedings, monographs and increasingly on the internet that much of it remains undetected or difficult to access.

Moreover, significant changes in treated taxa, supported by a growing number of phylogenetic studies, arise from revisions in systematics and associated nomenclature, mostly because certain well-differentiated populations are more consistently viewed as species than as subspecies.

This book is our attempt to provide an updated review of the Italian avifauna, by selecting appropriate data among the extensive information available. Moreover, it is the first national avifauna to be published in English, a circumstance which we are confident will make it more easily accessible to a wider readership.

This book is a direct descendent of the “Ornitologia Italiana”, which appeared in nine volumes over the period 2003-2015. With respect to our previous work, we have put together and updated ornithological findings on Italian bird distribution, populations and movements, giving particular attention to recent changes and current trends.

Current breeding and wintering ranges are considered in detail, as are the patterns of occurrence of migrants and vagrants. Phenological data are presented for species whose occurrence in Italy is seasonal. We have not considered topics relating to taxonomy, identification and aspects of general biology.

This task took us more than fifteen years of work to carefully review all the Italian ornithological literature, and go through several hundred bird reports, private letters and other unpublished sources, generously provided by numerous people.

In recent decades, we have also witnessed the increasing negative impacts of human activities on birds and habitats. Many species, which were common just a few decades ago, are now restricted to a small part of Italy, whilst loss or severe deterioration of some of the best bird habitats is evident almost throughout the country. Agricultural, industrial and urban development as well as direct persecution are some of the main problems threatening the survival of healthy populations of a large number of bird species.

No conservation strategy or management actions can be planned unless a sufficient body of knowledge is made available to public agencies, professional researchers and conservationists.


Errata Corrige vol.1-3