Research activities

Research topics

Ecology of migrating birds: barrier crossing, weather effects, stop-over behaviour, use of staging areas

Model species

Eleonora’s falcon, Short-toed and Booted eagle, Lesser kestrel, Honey buzzard, Marsh and Montagu’s harrier, Black redstart

Ph.D. thesis

Movement ecology of long-distance migrants: insights from the Eleonora’s falcon and other raptors (PDF DOWNLOAD). University of Alicante, June 2013.

During my PhD (2008-2013) I also did three research stays in different groups: Centre for Animal Movement Research (2010-2011, University of Lund, Sweden), Estación Biologica de Doñana (2011-2012, CSIC, Spain), Ecotono (2012-2013, CONICET, Bariloche, Argentina).

Short-toed eagle project

Click here to follow the migratory journey of Short-toed eagles tegged with satellite transmitters

Peer review activities

Current Zoology (guest editor), Research In Ornithology (RIO, associate editor), Acta Ornithologica, PLoS One, Journal of Field Ornithology, Italian Journal of Zoology, Journal of Ornithology, Ecological Research, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Journal of Avian Biology, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Ibis, European Journal of Wildlife Research, Bird Study, Ornis Fennica, Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, International Journal of Biometeorology, Journal of Raptor Research, Ardeola, Movement Ecology, Systematics and Biodiversity, Ethology Ecology & Evolution, Zoological Science, Avocetta, Revista Catalana de Ornitologia, Slovak Raptor Journal.


Mellone U., Lucia G., Mallìa E., Urios V., 2016. Individual variation in orientation promotes a 3000-km latitudinal change in wintering grounds in a long-distance migratory raptor. Ibis DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12401 PDF  BOU blog post

López-López P., De La Puente J., Mellone U., Bermejo A. & Urios V. 2016. Spatial ecology and habitat use of adult Booted eagles (Aquila pennata) during the breeding season: implications for conservation. Journal of Ornithology doi: 10.1007/s10336-016-1357-z PDF

Vidal-Mateo, J., Mellone U., López-López P., De La Puente J., Garcia-Ripolles, C., Bermejo A. & Urios V., 2016. Wind effects on the migration routes of trans-Saharan soaring raptors: geographical, seasonal and interspecific variation. Current Zoology, 62: 89-97 PDF

calzadas beas

Mellone U., De La Puente J., López-López P., Limiñana R., Bermejo A. & Urios V. 2015. Seasonal differences in migration patterns of a soaring bird in relation to environmental conditions: a multi-scale approach. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69:75–82  PDF

Mellone U., Limiñana R., López-López P. & Urios V. 2015. Regional and age-dependent differences in the effect of wind on the migratory routes of Eleonora’s falcon. Current Zoology 61: 428–434 PDF

Bogliani G., Mellone M., 2014. Birds on the move: Special column on bird movement. Current Zoology 60: 602 – 603 PDF

Panuccio M, Agostini N, Mellone U, Bogliani G, 2014. Circannual variation in movement patterns of the Black Kite (Milvus migrans migrans): a review Ethology, Ecology and Evolution 26: 1-18 PDF


Mellone U., López-López P., Limiñana R., Piasevoli G. & Urios V. 2013. The trans-equatorial loop migration system of Eleonora’s falcon: differences in migration patterns between age classes, regions and seasons. Journal of Avian Biology 44: 417–426 PDF  [gallery]

Gangoso L., López-López P., Grande J.M., Mellone U., Limiñana R., Urios V. & Ferrer M. 2013. Ecological specialization to fluctuating resources prevents long-distance migratory raptors from becoming sedentary on islands. PLoS ONE 8(4): e61615. link

Mellone U., De La Puente J., López-López P., Limiñana R., Bermejo A. & Urios V. 2013. Migration routes and wintering areas of Booted Eagles Aquila pennata breeding in Spain. Bird Study 60:409-413 PDF

veraneo eleonores

Mellone U., López-López P., Limiñana R., Urios V., 2013.Summer pre-breeding movements of Eleonora’s Falcons Falco eleonorae revealed by satellite telemetry: implications for conservation. Bird Conservation International 23: 487-494 PDF


Limiñana, R., Romero, M., Mellone, U. & Urios, V. 2013. Is there a different response to winds during migration between soaring and flapping raptors? An example with the Montagu’s harrier and the lesser kestrel . Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 823-835 PDF

Panuccio M., Mellone U., Muner L., 2013. Differential wintering area selection in Eurasian Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus): a ringing recoveries analysis. Bird Study 60: 52-59. PDF

Mellone U., Urios V, Rguibi-Idrissi H., Limiñana R., Benhoussa A., López-López P., 2012. Ranging behaviour of Eleonora’s Falcons Falco eleonorae during chick-rearing. Acta Ornithologica 47: 195-198. PDF

Mellone U, Klaassen RHG, Garcia-Ripolles C, Limiñana R, Lopez-Lopez P, Pavon D, Strandberg R, Urios V, Vardakis M, Alerstam T, 2012 Interspecific comparison of the performance of soaring migrants in relation to morphology, meteorological conditions and migration strategies. PLoS ONE 7(7): e39833. link

Agostini N., Lucia G., Mellone U., Panuccio M., Von Hardenberg J., Evangelidis A. & Kominos T., 2012 Loop migration of adult European Honey Buzzards (Pernis apivorus) through the central-eastern Mediterranean. Italian Journal of Zoology 79: 280-286 PDF

Limiñana, R., Romero, M., Mellone, U. & Urios, V. 2012. Mapping the migratory routes and wintering areas of Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni: new insights from satellite telemetry. Ibis 154: 389–399 PDF


Mellone, U., López-López, P., Limiñana, R., Urios, V. 2012 Wintering habitats of Eleonora’s Falcons Falco eleonorae in Madagascar. Bird Study 59: 29-36 PDF


Mellone U., Limiñana, R., Mallìa E. & Urios V. 2011. Extremely detoured migration in an inexperienced bird: interplay of transport costs and social interactions. Journal of Avian Biology 42: 468-472 PDF

Morganti M., Mellone U., Bogliani G., Saino N., Ferri A., Spina F. & Rubolini D., 2011. Flexible tuning of departure decisions in response to weather in black redstarts migrating across the Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Avian Biology 42: 323-334 PDF

Mellone, U., Yáñez, B., Limiñana, R., Muñoz, A.R., Pavón, D., González, J.M., Urios, V. & Ferrer, M. 2011 Summer staging areas of non-breeding Short-toed Snake Eagles. Bird Study 58: 516– 521 PDF

Mellone U., López- López P., Limiñana R., Urios V. 2011. Weather conditions promote route flexibility during open  ocean crossing in a long-distance migratory raptor. International Journal of Biometeorology 55: 463–468 PDF

López-López P., Limiñana R., Mellone U., Urios V., 2010. From the Mediterranean Sea to Madagascar. Are there ecological barriers for the long-distance migrant Eleonora’s falcon? Landscape Ecology 25: 803-813 PDF

Panuccio M., Agostini N., Lucia G., Mellone U., Ashton-Boot J., Wilson S., Chiatante G., & Todisco S. 2010. Local weather conditions affect migration strategies of adult Western honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus) through an isthmus area. Zoological Studies 49: 651-656. PDF

Agostini N. & Mellone U. 2008. Does migration flyway of Short-toed Eagles (Circaetus gallicus) breeding in Central Italy reflect the colonization history? Journal of Raptor Research 42: 158-159 PDF

Agostini N., Panuccio M., Mellone U., Lucia G., Wilson S., Ashton-Boot J., 2007. Do migration counts reflect population trends? A case study of the honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus. Ardeola 59:339-344. PDF

Agostini N., Premuda G., Mellone U., Panuccio M., Logozzo D., Bassi E. & Cocchi L. 2005. Influence of wind and geography on orientation behavior of adult Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus during migration over water. Acta Ornithologica 40: 71-74. PDF


Lucia G., Agostini N., Panuccio M., Mellone U., Chiatante G., Tarini D. & Evangelidis A. 2011. Raptor migration at Antikythira, in southern Greece. British Birds 104: 266-270. PDF

Agostini N., Panuccio M., Lucia G., Liuzzi C., Amato P., Provenza A., Gustin M. & Mellone U. 2009. Evidence for age-dependent migration strategies in the Short-toed Eagle. British Birds 102: 506-508. PDF

Panuccio M. & Mellone U. 2009. Autumn migration of the Bee-eaters at the Straits of Messina. Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia 78: 132-125 PDF

Baghino L., Premuda G., Gustin M., Corso A., Mellone U., & Cardelli C. 2007. Exceptional wintering and spring migration of the booted eagle Hieraaetus pennatus in Italy in 2004 and 2005. Avocetta 31: 47-52. PDF

Agostini N. & Mellone U. 2007. Migration strategies of Oriental Honey-buzzards Pernis ptilorhyncus breeding in Japan. Forktail 23: 182-183. PDF

Premuda G. & Mellone U. 2007. Presenza regolare del Falco della Regina, Falco eleonorae, sull’isola di Marettimo (Egadi, Sicilia). Rivista Italiana di Ornitologia PDF

Panuccio M., Agostini N., Wilson S., Lucia G., Ashton-Boot J., Chiatante G., Mellone U. & Todisco S. 2006. Does the Honey-buzzard feed during migration? British Birds 99: 365-368. PDF

Panuccio M., Agostini N. & Mellone U. 2005. Autumn migration strategies of honey buzzards, black kites, marsh and Montagu’s harriers over land and over water in the central Mediterranean. Avocetta 29: 27-32. PDF

Agostini N., Premuda G., Mellone U., Panuccio M., Logozzo D., Bassi E. & Cocchi L. 2004. Crossing the sea en route to Africa: autumn migration of some Accipitriformes over two central Mediterranean islands. Ring 26: 71-78. PDF

Premuda G., Mellone U. & Cocchi L. 2004. Osservazioni sulla modalità della migrazione primaverile dei rapaci a Capo d’Otranto [Spring raptor migration routes at Capo d’Otranto]. Avocetta 28 : 33-36. PDF


López-López P., Garcia-Ripolles, C., Mellone U., Romero M., Limiñana R. & Urios V., 2014. Aplicación de la información obtenida mediante telemetría remota para el estudio de la ecología del movimiento y la conservación de aves. Ponencia invitada. XXII Congreso Español de Ornitología. 6 al 9 de diciembre de 2014. Madrid, Spain.

Bermejo A., Mellone U., López-López P., Limiñana R., Urios V., Rodriguez-Ruiz J, Parejo D., Aviles J., Hofle U., Schiulz H., Enggist P., Del Moral JC,  De La Puente J., 2014. Desvelando la migración de águilas calzadas, carracas europeas y cigüeñas blancas: el programa MIGRA. Comunicación Oral. XXII Congreso Español de Ornitología. 6 al 9 de diciembre de 2014. Madrid, Spain.

Mellone U., 2013. Monitoraggio dei movimenti a livello individuale [Monitoring of individual movements – oral presentation]. Proceedings of the XVII Italian Ornithological Congress: 60, Trento, September 2013.

Mellone U., Limiñana R., López-López P., Lucia G., Mallia E., Romero M. & Urios V. 2013. Tra Europa e Africa: i movimenti di falco della Regina Falco eleonorae, grillaio Falco naumanni e biancone Circaetus gallicus rivelati dalla telemetria satellitare [Between Europe and Africa: movements of Eleonora’s Falcon, Lesser Kestrel and Short-toed Snake Eagle as revealed by satellite telemetry – oral presentation]. Proceedings of then XVII Italian Ornithological Congress: 142-143, Trento, September 2013.

Panuccio M., Agostini N., Lucia P., Chiatante G. & Mellone U. 2013. Priorità di monitoraggio e conservazione per i rapaci migratori in Italia [Monitoring and conservation priorities for migrating raptors in Italy – oral presentation]. Proceedings of the XVII Italian Ornithological Congress: 37, Trento, September 2013.

Limiñana R., De La Puente J., Mellone U., Romero M., López-López P., Bermejo A., Urios V., 2012. Influencia de las condiciones atmosféricas en los patrones de migración de rapaces. Oral presentation. XXI Congreso Español de Ornitología. 6 al 9 de diciembre de 2012. Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain.

Romero M., Limiñana R., Mellone U., Urios V., 2012. Primeros datos de la migración del Cernícalo primilla seguidos por telemetría satelital. Poster presentation. XXI Congreso Español de Ornitología. 6 al 9 de diciembre de 2012. Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain.

Mellone, U., López-López, P., Limiñana, R. & Urios, V. 2010. Efecto de las barreras ecológicas y meteorológicas en la migración del halcón de Eleonora. Comunicación Oral. XX Congreso Español de Ornitología. 4 al 8 de diciembre de 2010. Tremp, Lleida, Spain.

López-López, P., Limiñana, R., Mellone, U., García-Ripollés, C., Pavón, D., Muñiz, R., Romero, M., Godino, A., Cadahía, L., Soutullo, A. & Urios, V. 2010. Diez años de seguimiento vía satélite de aves rapaces: nuevas aportaciones a su conocimiento. Comunicación Oral. XX Congreso Español de Ornitología. 4 al 8 de diciembre de 2010. Tremp, Lleida, Spain.

Mellone U., Lopez Lopez P., Liminana R., Urios V., 2010.Linking environment characteristics with migration behaviour: the case of Eleonora’s falcons. 2nd. Conference Bird Migration and Global Change. Strait of Gibraltar, Algeciras, Spain; oral presentation.

Morganti M., Mellone U.,  Bogliani G., Ferri A., Spina F., Saino N., Rubolini D. 2009. Dinamiche di sosta del codirosso spazzacamino, Phoenicurus ochruros, in un isola del Mediterraneo centrale durante le migrazioni primaverile e autunnale: influenza dei fattori meteorologici e delle condizioni fisiche. XV Convegno Italiano di Ornitologia, comunicazione orale.

Lopez Lopez P., Liminana R., Mellone U., Urios V., 2009. Migration strategies of Eleonora’s falcons (Falco eleonorae)  breeding in the Western Mediterranean: individual variation based on an inherited program? Oral presentation. 7th  Conference of the European Ornithologists’ Union. Zurich, Switzerland

Mellone U. 2009. Raptor migration across the Central Mediterranean: how, where and when. Oral presentation. First Adriatic Flyway Conference. Ulcinj, Montenegro. Oral presentation.

Morganti M., Mellone U., Rubolini D., Bogliani G., Ferri A., Spina F., 2008. Dinamiche di sosta del codirosso spazzacamino (Phoenicurus ochruros) in un’isola del Mediterraneo. Atti X Convegno Inanellatori Italiani: 26-27.

Mellone U., Agostini N., Panuccio M. & Gustin M. 2007. La migrazione primaverile dei rapaci accipitriformi attraverso le isole Eolie: primi dati. Atti CIO: 67. POSTER

Panuccio M., Agostini N., Lucia G., Mellone U., Ashton-Boot J., Wilson S., Chiatante G., & Todisco S. 2007. Le Serre  Catanzaresi: Important Bird Area (IBA) per la migrazione autunnale dei rapaci. Atti CIO: 68. POSTER


Mellone U., 2015. L’altra Patagonia. Asferico 49: 52-59

Mellone U., 2015. Bonsai XXL. Naturfoto 46: 50-59.

Mellone U., 2013. Marocco: di sabbia e di stelle. Asferico 42: 52-59

Limiñana R., Mellone U., Lopez-Lopez P., Urios V., 2012. Migración e invernada del Halcón de Eleonora (Falco eleonorae Gené, 1839; falconidae). ¿Qué hemos aprendido con el seguimiento por satélite? Cuadernos de Biodiversidad 39: 1-6.

Urios V., Mellone U., Lopez Lopez P., Liminana R. 2010. Estudio de la migración e invernada del halcón de Eleonora. Nostra Terra 5: 10-12.

December 2009: Interview about raptor migration research in the Mediterranean basin LINK

D’Amicis B., Mellone U., 2009. Marokko: Ein K nigreich f r Naturfotografen. Naturfoto 3/09: 26-37

Mellone U. 2008. Laghi Prespa: gli occhi azzurri dei Balcani. AQVA 235: 74-83. (text and pictures)

Mellone U. & Sighele M. (red.) 2007. Resoconto Ornitologico Italiano. Avocetta 31: 79-86.

Mellone U. & Sighele M. (red.) 2006. Resoconto Ornitologico Italiano. Avocetta 30: 81-86.

Mellone U., Sighele M. & Arcamone E. (red.) 2005. Resoconto Ornitologico Italiano. Avocetta 29: 98-102.

Mellone U. & Catoni C. 2005. Summer birding at Kerkini lake. Alula 11: 180-184.

Catoni C., Mellone U. & Tordi A. 2004. Grecia continentale: Epiro e Macedonia. Quaderni di Birdwatching 11: online

Mellone U., Coppola E. & Guarrera L. 2003. Identifying monk seal habitat in Puglia. The Monachus Guardian 6 (2): online