Breeding birds in the Narta Lagoon (SW Albania) in 2016

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Abstract

The Narta Lagoon (59 km2) is one of the largest and most important coastal wetlands for migratory and wintering waterbirds in Albania. However, the breeding bird fauna of the site is still poorly studied. The current work aims to broaden the knowledge on the list of breeding bird species, their numbers, distribution and threats in the zone (with a focus on waterbirds). Relevant information for spring migrants is also provided. The survey consisted of two field visits in April and May 2016. The entire wetland area was covered and all its habitats were visited. In total, 136 bird species were observed. The total number of breeding birds was estimated at 6,400 pairs of 85 species. The most abundant breeders were the Little Tern Sternula albifrons with 377 breeding pairs (bp), Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta with 121 bp, and Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus with 96 bp. In total, 3,461 individuals belonging to 80 species were recorded as non-breeders. At the species level, the most numerous were Kentish Plover with 1,100 individuals (ind.), Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis with 600 ind., Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with 321 ind., Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna with 130 ind., Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus with 120 ind. and Dunlin Calidris alpina with 100 ind. Breeding birds assemblages within the main studied habitats (salinas, lagoon, pine forests, mixed farmland, rocky hills with olive trees, and grasslands with bushes near the coast) and threats (the most significant of which were illegal shooting, trapping and dangerous power grid) are also described. Recommendations for future bird-friendly management, appropriate conservation activities and eco-tourism in the area are made.

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