Sunday, January 2, 2011

When in Rome...

One thing that surprised me during a short stay in Rome is the sheer quantity of birds, nonchalantly living side by side with the people leading their hectic lives. While in Malta large birds tend to stay far away from any human settlements (and with good reason), Rome features interesting avifauna in addition to the 'usual' sparrows (Passer spp.) and rock pigeons (Columba livia Gmelin, 1789).

Pigeons (Columba livia) in Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore

The largest amongst these birds is the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis michahellis Naumann, 1840). Several of these can be seen flying, seemingly fearlessly, over piazzas and public places, descending to gobble anything edible in sight. This particular specimen below was unperturbed by my steady approach towards it, only flying away once it had had its fill of the fresh fountain water.

Larus michahellis michahellis bathing in front of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica

The same bird, taking risks

Also notable is the less common hooded crow (Corvus cornix cornix Linnaeus, 1758), of which a couple were observed rummaging around for food beneath cars in one of the very busy roads. The calls of these crows are quite peculiar and could be heard intermittently from trees and stonework, even though their owners were not so commonly seen.

Corvus cornix cornix Linnaeus, 1758

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...