Mid-winter waterfowl census in Albania


Photo: Yana Barzova

In January a team of BSPB took part in the census of waterfowl in Albania. This year, under the project "Land of eagles and castles" for the first time the census was attended by international experts and specialists from the Agency of Protected Areas and volunteers. This year the Association for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) led the counts in 50% of the IBAs, together with experts from BSPB-BirdLife Bulgaria, and LIPU-BirdLife Italy.

BSPB team helped counting of Butrint, Oricum lagoon and Narta lagoon. Over 50 species of birds were identified. Amongst the waterbirds, the most numerous species were the Coot (F. Atra), Mallards (A. Platyrhynchos), Great Cormorant (Ph. Carbo), Pygmy Cormorant (Ph. Pygmeus), Black-headed Gull (L. ridibundus). Among the interesting species were Cattle Egret (B. Ibis) and Ferruginous Duck (A. Nyroca). Special attention was paid to Pochards (A. Ferina), which is Now listed as Vulnerable on the European Red List of Birds and the global IUCN Red List.


Poaching activity in the area of Butrint and Narta lagoon was registered.

This year marks the 50th from the first “International Waterbird Census (IWC), known differently in Europe as “midwinter census”. Ususally, the midwinter census helds along the second weekend of January. More than 130 countries worldwide participate in this activity, but in Albania the IWC started for the first time in year 1996 only in the areas of Prespa Lakes and Ohrid Lake, and PPNEA has been one of the main organizers of this activity at that time. Furthermore, along last years, the IWC started to cover one by one all the 14th wetland IBAs in the country.

The “Land of Eagles and Castles” project aims at sustainable development of three Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) along the Adriatic coast of Albania: Narta lagoon, Karaburun peninsula and Butrint, trough nature-friendly alternative forms of tourism. It is implemented by the Association for Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA) in collaboration with the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB). The project granted by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).


“Land of Eagles and Castles”, PPNEA, CEPF, Albania