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IBA Montenegro

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In Montenegro, 13 IBA or 130,650 hectares was identified so far, of which 7,950 ha on the coast, lakes cover 42,000 hectares and fields, canyons and mountains – 80,700 ha. In total, 10,6 % of the country is under IBA. In Montenegro, according to strict international standards, only five such areas have so far been identified - Skadar and Šasko Lake, Ulcinj Salina, Mountain Durmitor and Biogradska Gora forest. But this is only the beginning of work on the IBA identification.

 

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANT AREAS:

Bojana River Delta
Ulcinj Salina
Beach Velika plaža
Ada Bojana Island
Paraturk Island
Šasko Lake
Mountain Rumija
Buljarica
Tivat Solila (Tivat Salina)
Skadar Lake
Ćemovsko Field
Cijevna River Canyon
Nikšić Reservoirs
Mountain Prokletije
Plavsko Lake
Mountain Hajla
Mountain Durmitor
Biogradska Gora forest

IBA map of Montenegro

IBA crne gore

 

BOJANA RIVER DELTA

Area in hectares: 7,500
Altitude: 0-10 m
Coordinates: 41°57'9.12"N, 19°19'28.83"E
IBA criteria: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Bojana River Delta is located in the outermost southeast part of the country. It is separated from the Skadar Lake by the Mountain Rumija and stretches to the city of Ulcinj on the west and to the mouth of the Bojana River into the Adriatic Sea on the east. It covers important areas for birds such as Ulcinj Salina, Šasko Lake, Ada Bojana, Velika plaža with Brijeg od mora village, Knete (swamps) near the Bojana River, Paratuk Island, Ulcinj Field and Zoganjsko Field. Open sea, sweet water, sandy beaches with dunes, the salt pan, the Bojana River, canals, flooded forests, reed beds, tamarack, farmland, pastures and areas under tangerines and olives are just part of areas that birds use for their food, breeding and resting. Delta is closely connected with the Skadar Lake and part of delta that belongs to Albania (protected as the Ramsar site and a natural resource), and, in terms of protecting the area and the inseparability of habitats, it must be integrally considered. More than 240 species of birds have been registered in delta so far. In the following chapters, most important areas for birds in the Montenegrin part of the Delta have been examined.

Knete, Ulcinj Field and Zoganjsko Field are an inseparable part of the complex habitat of the Bojana River. Both habitats are important for food and stay of birds and breeding of songbirds. Different composition of the vegetation of these habitats attracts different species of birds. The importance of their preservation is not smaller than the habitats that are particularly described below in relation to the others in delta.

 

ULCINJ SALINA

Area in hectares: 1,492
Altitude: 0-3 m
Conservation status: IBA since 1989 and the first private Nature Park in Montenegro since 2004 (unprotected at the local and national level); Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 19°18'5,71''E, 41°55'25,14''N

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Solana is located on the southeast coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the outermost southeast part of the country. It is located 1 km of air distance from the city of Ulcinj and the same distance from the border with Albania. The Ulcinj Salina was built by draining of former lagoon Zogaj mudflats that was turned into salt pans in 1926. As "zog" means "bird" in Albanian, it is clear enough what kind of swamp was it. The Salina is located in the region with the greatest insolation in the Adriatic - 2,567 hours of sun. Today it is in a "sandwich" between the most important ornithological sites in the Adriatic Sea, and beyond: Velika plaža, Ada Bojana, Šasko and Skadar lakes and Velipolje in Albania. The Salina is filled with sea water. Strong pumps (3,000 l/sec) draw sea organisms and water from the sea. The water is pumped into shallow basins, with an average depth of 20-30 cm and under the influence of the sun and wind it evaporates.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

The Salina is today the most important migration, wintering, breeding and feeding station for birds on the entire east coast of the Adriatic. Until today, 240 species of birds has been registered at the Salina, 55 of which are breeding: Tadorna tadorna, Botaurus Stellaris, Accipiter brevipes (along the Salina channel), Falco tinnunculus, Phasianus colchicus, Rallus aquaticus, Gallinula chloriopus, Himantupus himantopus, Haematopus ostralegus, Recurvirostra avosetta, Burhinus oedicnemus, Charadrius dubius, C. alexandrinus, Glareola pratincola, Tringa totanus, Sterna hirundo, S. albifrons, Larus cachinnans, L. genei Streptopelia turtur, Clamator glandarius, Athene noctua, Merops apiaster, Coracias garrulous, Upupa epops, Galerida cristata, Calandrella brachydactyla, Hirundo rustica, H. daurica, Delichon urbica, Motacilla alba, M. flava, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus ochruros, Oenanthe oeananthe O. hispanica, Turdus merula, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, A. scirpaceus, Hippolais pallida, Sylvia atricapilla, S. communis, Muscicapa striata, Lanius senator, L. minor, Sturnus vulgaris, Oriolus oriolus, Pica pica, Corvus corone cornix, Passer Montanus, P. domesticus, P. hispaniolensis, Carduelis canabina, Emberiza calandra, E. melanocephala. At the Salina, there are many other species registered, whose census exceeds 1% of the European population: Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Pelecanus crispus 3%, Egretta garzetta 1.5%, Ardea alba, Platalea leucorodia, Charadrius alexandrinus, Pluvialis squatarola, Calidris alpina, Tadorna tadorna, Himantopus himantopus, Limosa limosa 3%, Numenius tenuirostris, Tringa erythropus 1.5%, Tringa stagnatilis 1.5%. Almost 3% of the total population of the northwestern population of endangered pelicans, Pelecanus crispus, visits the Salina after the breeding season, in the period August - November, due to low intensity of harassment, big size of the habitat and good feeding. The numbers are impressive even in the spring: hundreds and thousands of water birds have been registered that stop at the Salina to rest and get food (e.g. the garganey, orthe small duck, Anas querquedula, comes in frequency of 1,200 birds/hour). Numerous species gather at the Salina during the spring migration in great numbers, like O. oriolus, Saxicola rubetra, M. flava, Muscicapa striata, Ficedula sp, etc. and the flocks reach thousands and thousands per day.

HABITATS

114 plant species have been registered so far in salty basins and embankments. The dominant ones are Salicornia herbacea, Phragmition communis. The grassy area covers 122.1 ha (dams and coastal embankments), halophytes congregation 60.2 ha (basin area), canes 8 ha (basin area and channels), Tamarix and lower trees 13 ha and 55 ha of pioneer vegetation (mainly the coastal embankments). Embankments are used for livestock grazing or are being burnt during the summer. In the waters of the Salina basins there were 24 fish species registered and 12 species of amphibians, 28 species of reptiles and 33 species of mammals on the embankments.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Illegal hunting had negative consequences on breeding and stay of birds in previous years. The management has banned hunting since 2003, which has immediately reflected on the presence of birds. Out of maximum of 56 pelicans during the winter, the number has risen to 96 in 2004. Hunting and rapid development of tourism on the coast (Velika plaža, Štoj), may have an impact on the overall evaluation of landscape quality throughout the Bojana River Delta. Pollution from settlements (sewage, industry) can affect the quality of sea water, which is pumped from the sea into the Salina, and modify the composition of food for birds at the basins. The Salina has been recognised as the area of international importance for the stay of birds (IBA). Ulcinj Salina has been proposed to be part of the cross-border biosphere reserve "Skadar Lake and Bojana River Delta" (it has already been established at the Albanian side). The Salina has been establishes as the first private nature park in Montenegro since 2004, and soon will be included on the Ramsar list. Beside the Centre for the Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro, an important role in the preservation of birds in this area, have the European Nature Heritage Fund - Euronatur, and the Institute for Nature Protection of Montenegro as well. The Salina has been zoned today, with complete infrastructure for visitors who want to watch birds or learn about the production of salt in the traditional environment friendly way.

 

BEACH VELIKA PLAŽA

Length: 12 km + belt in the hinterland up to 1,000 m
Altitude: 0-3 m
Protection status: Velika plaža has been protected as a natural reserve since 1968, Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 41°53'36.69"N, 19°17'47.47"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Velika plaža is the longest Adriatic beach and stretches from the mouth of the channel Port Milena into the Adriatic (cape Đerani) to the right arm of the Bojana River (where it flows into the Adriatic Sea). The beach is sandy with, today, degraded dunes in the hinterland. Behind the dunes there is a belt of brackish marshes that are at sea level, and the remnants of floodplain forests. On the outermost east part of the beach, alongside Bojana River (it occupies 4 km of beach and hinterland), there is a swamp with the saline water and typical brackish vegetation Juncus and Tamarix. It is part of the "Green Belt Europe".

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Ornithological importance of Velika plaža was earlier reflected in significant breeding sites, especially collared pratincole, stone curlews and oystercatchers. Today, it is a fragmented habitat, and only occasional nests could be found, of waders (plover and mullet) and at the remains of flooded forests nests of the European roller, Coracias garrulous, Levant sparrowhawk and Accipiter brevipes. The beach is particularly important during migration: it is the "spring board" for the trip via Italy, Sicily and Malta to Africa and shelter for birds after wintering. Beside the Salina, Ada Bojana Island and Paratuk Island, it is one of the key coastal places on the migratory path across the Adriatic. The Beach meets the standards for the inclusion into the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance because in its hinterland, in the swamp, where an illegal road was built, almost 1% of the European population of Baillon's Crake, Porzana pusilla, breeds. Brijeg od mora village is a significant breeding site for larks, stone curlews, bee-eatersand important feeding area for most species in the delta. There is in amazing number of the wood lark, Lullula arborea, registered as well.

HABITATS

The shallow waters of the Adriatic alongside Velika plaža are ideal for feeding and resting of birds during migration. Large amount of food has been left out of the sea on the sandy beach. In the hinterland of the beach, at the dunes, there are endangered coastal plants, which disappeared from other beaches on the Adriatic, because of urbanisation and tourist pressure. Behind the dunes, there is swamp vegetation with Juncus sp., Phragmites sp, Tamarix sp... Brijeg od mora village is a large pasture with a sandy surface. In the winter is flooded and in summer, slightly processed.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Velika plaža and Brijeg od mora village are the hunting grounds of the local hunting club. During the spring and winter months they are a battlefield for hunting of tired migratory birds from Africa and numerous farmland birds. During summer and fall, they are ideal battlefield for doves and other species that migrate over Ulcinj. Velika plaža is one of the most popular seaside destinations in Montenegro. Tourist pressure is big and control of their movement is ignored. Dunes are converted into parking places and beach hinterland is flattened for flying motor kites. The rapid tourist development of the region is causing the illegal construction of tourist infrastructure. Construction of new hotel complexes along the beach will significantly threaten not only bird habitats, but also other groups of animals that choose Velika plaža as their habitat. However, the fact that key spatial plans (Master plan for tourism DEG, spatial plan for the Coastal Zone) include part of the Velika plaža as a protected area (4 km of the beach to the hinterland). Unfortunately, the Velika plaža has not been recognised as the protected area in a number of strategic documents since 1968.

 

ADA BOJANA ISLAND

Area in hectares: 494
Altitude: 0-3 m
Protection status: Unprotected at local and national level, Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 41 ° 51'49.07 "N, 19 ° 21'39.82" E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Ada Bojana is located at the outermost southeast part of the country, along the border with Albania. The island is triangular in shape and is surrounded by the sea on one side, with the beach 3,700 m long and Bojana River on the other. Ada Bojana was, according to legend, created by the stranding ship when entering its estuary. Sand started depositing around it, and today Ada is the largest island in the delta. During the Cold War, Ada was a war zone with tightly guarded borders. This has caused for some of its parts to still have virginal look. Northern and eastern parts of the island are flooded forests, rich in biodiversity. Ada is today part of the "Green Belt Europe". Hinterland of the beach is made of dunes, hiding unique habitats in the Mediterranean.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Ornithological importance of Ada Bojana is reflected primarily in major colonies of breeding birds: Pygmy Cormorants, Phalacrocorax pygmeus; Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia; Little Egret, Egretta garzetta; gray heron, Ardea cinerea; Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nuctycorax; Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides; cormorants, Phalacrocorax carbo; bittern, Botaurus Stellaris thay found their place for breeding in the flooded forest of Ada and its reeds. Ada is visited by Dalmatian pelicans, Pelecanus crispus; Levant Sparrowhawk, Accipiter brevipes, breeds there as well. The Stone Curlew, Burchinus oedicnemus, breeds behind the dunes; the nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus; more types of common moorhen, and earlier there was collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola and the Eurasian Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus. Large number of aquatic bird species find their ideal feeding place in estuaries of the Bojana River: Sterna sp., Gavia sp., Larus sp., Mergus sp., Melanita sp. Ada meets the standards for the inclusion onto the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance.

HABITATS

Floodplain forests of Ada are composed of ash, poplars, oaks and elms. The Bojana River is a corridor for migration of rare and economically important fish species heading to the Šasko Lake and Skadar Lake. Three types of endangered sturgeon, Acipenser sp. are key indicators of the value of this corridor. The logger head sea turtule, Caretta caretta, was breeding here in 2002 on the sand dunes near the state border. Her presence was registered even after that, but the breeding has not been confirmed. At flooded forests of the Ada there are golden jackals, Canis aureus, roaming and at the Bojana River bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncates.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Ada is the hunting ground of the local hunting club. It is one of the most popular nudist destinations in the Adriatic. The pressure of tourists is big and the control of their movement has been ignored. The colonies of birds that are on the Bojana River and the trip down the river would be a disturbing factor for their breeding. The breeding season overlaps with the tourist season. A boat ride should be limited to the middle of the river. The rapid tourist development of the region causes for the construction on the banks of the Bojana River, which is mostly illegal. About 300 illegal structures were built on the right arm of the Bojana River. The buildings have significantly endangered virginal appearance of the island, and have significantly influenced the water quality of the river as well, because there is no sewage system. Construction of new hotel complexes outside existing borders, and the mismatch of floors, may significantly endanger the status of the Ada as a wild beauty.

 

PARATUK ISLAND

Area in hectares: 0,2
Altitude: 3 m
Protection status: Unprotected at local and national level, Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 41°54'35.94"N, 19°20'29.24"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Paratuk Island is located on the Bojana River, along the border with Albania. It is located 1 km of air distance from the Salina and 7 km from the mouth of the Bojana River.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

The island is the most important breeding site for herons and cormorants in the delta. More than 200 pairs of small white herons, Egretta garzetta, 220 pairs of Pygmy Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, the same number of cormorants, Phalacrocorax carbo, and more than 30 pairs of Spoonbills, Platalea leucorodia, the same number of night herons, Nycticorax nycticorax and yellow herons, Ardeola ralloides, several pairs of gray herons, breed on the small island.

HABITATS

Dried or living trees of fig, elm, willow and cane and the remains of maquia, are covering the island. Year in year out it has been extending thanks to drifting of sand on the southern end, overgrowing with reeds.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Life on the Paratuk Island thrives thanks to its location, the inaccessibility from the land and the once well-guarded iron curtain between the two countries. The establishment of the navigability at the Bojana River would drive the birds of the island. Their absence would be registered all over delta during the breeding season, because these breeding birds feed on the swamps of Ulcinj and the Salina.

 

ŠASKO LAKE

Area in hectares: 315-380
Altitude: 0-3 m
Conservation status: IBA since 1989, unprotected at local and national level; Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 19°19'56,87'' E, 41°58'22,41''N

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Šasko Lake is "sandwiched" between the Skadar Lake and the Ulcinj Salina, in the southeastern part of the country, in the area of Ulcinj. The Lake is separated from the Skadar Lake by the Mountain Rumija (1,595 m altitude), and from the Salina by Briska Gora (176 m). It is 16 km from the mouth of the Bojana River into the Adriatic. The lake has clear water, slightly salinised. Its average depth is 4 meters. The deepest part is the underwater spring called Begovo oko, under the Briska Gora, 9 m. It is believed that the salination of the lake water during summer months comes from the plunging water from the Salina. During high waters of the Bojana River, the lake periodically communicates with the river, thereby changing its composition of flora and fauna. The contact is made possible by flooding the Fraskanjelsko Field or with the channel 1,600 m long, which is overgrown and almost inoperable. The oscillation of the water level in the lake is about 2m, and water temperature is between 7 and 28 degrees.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Ornithological composition is practically a miniature of the Skadar Lake. However, increased harassment causes for the number of breeding birds to be much smaller on the lake and colonies that are present on the Skadar Lake are absent from the Šasko Lake, primarily several types of herons, cormorants and pelicans. Significant breeding birds of the Šasko Lake are the following: Rallus aquaticus, Gallinula chloriopus, Fulica atra, Sterna hirundo, S. albifrons, C. hybrydus, Streptopelia turtur, Clamator glandarius, Athene noctua, Coracias garrulous, Upupa epops, Galerida cristata, Calandrella brachydactyla, Hirundo rustica, Delichon urbica, Motacilla alba, M. flava, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus ochruros, Oenanthe oeananthe, O. hispanica, Turdus merula, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, A. scirpaceus, Hippolais pallida, Sylvia atricapilla, S. communis, Muscicapa striata, Parus lugubris, Lanius senator, L. minor, Sturnus vulgaris, Oriolus oriolus, Pica pica, Corvus corone cornix, Passer montanus, P. domesticus, P. hispaniolensis, Carduelis canabina, Emberiza calandra, E. melanocephala. During fall and winter, pelicans and cormorants can be registered on the waters of the lake. During wintering, the lake "hosts" around twenty thousand water birds, most commonly coots, which is a sufficient precondition for the admission to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

HABITATS

Around the lake there are stands of reed Phragmites communis, sedge Carex and Juncus sp. In the coastal area, the lake is covered with floating vegetation, while the floodplain meadows of the Fraskanjelsko Field are covered with ash, willow and oak. Altogether, with the uninhabited coast, it provides for an image of virgin landscape. In the waters of the lake one can catch eels, carp, mullet, grass carp and leer fish, making for the excellent food base for birds, especially during months when the fish is trapped in the lake and when it has no contact with the surrounding waters. The lake has 23 species of fish registered.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Šasko Lake is the hunting ground of the local hunting club. Documented illegal hunting methods (lures, CD), and hunting out of season, disturbs the waterfowl, especially during winter and early spring. Bird hunting on the lake should be strictly prohibited. The lake is not zoned, and the presence of fishermen, their driftnets and tool shed is everywhere. Tourist pressure and boat rides on the lake are also a disturbing factor for breeding, because the nesting season overlaps with the tourist season. The rapid tourist development of the region causes for the construction on the banks of the lake, which will, if not subsumed under the law and if collectors are not built, destroy the virgin landscape, as well as the water quality of the lake. Root canal treatment with which the lake contacts with the Bojana River, without previous research, could drain the water of the lake, if the activity is not carried out professionally. Contact with the Bojana River, which is bacteriological burdened during summer months, and its mixing with waters of Šasko Lake, can have disastrous consequences for the lake.

 

MOUNTAIN RUMIJA

Area in hectares: 2,300
Altitude: 500-1,595 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at national and local level
Coordinates: 42°3'40.43"N, 19°14'53.15"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Mountain Rumija is located between the two most significant wetlands in Montenegro, IBA Skadar Lake and IBA Bojana River Delta, in the direction east – west. Northern slopes over 500 m altitude are usually uninhibited, with Ostros as a local community. South slopes are also sparsely populated.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Since it is "sandwiched" between two most important habitats of wetland birds in Montenegro, Mountain Rumija is a corridor of their migration, and habitat for many species that determine IBA Montenegro. These are probably the most significant population of western rock nuthatch, Sitta neumayer; wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica; hoopoe, Upupa epops; scops owl, Otus scops; several types of hawks, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Circaetus gallicus; cammon rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis; and population of rock patridge, Alectoris graeca.

HABITATS

Beside rocky, open and steep pastures, there is an area of maquis, forests of chestnuts and beech on the Mountain Rumija within borders of IBA. Rocky pastures are covered with meadows of sage, Salvia officinalis, subjected to intense accumulation in summer months. Animal husbandry has significant impact in degradation of maquis, primarily cultivation of goats.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Given the rocky pastures, aridity and humidity of air, Rumija is quite inhospitable and therefore preserved. Large areas under medicinal herbs attract collectors, but they do not have much influence. The main danger for this IBA is a possible attempt to set up wind farms on its slopes, which would have the most drastic effect for the birds.

 

BULJARICA

Areas in hectares: 300
Altitude: 0-2 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at local and national level, Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42o11'26.62''N, 18o58'19.77''E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

This site is located between the cities of Petrovac in the west and Sutomore in the south-east. There is the massif of the Mountain Rumija and Paštrovići area in the hinterland, which separate this bay from the Skadar Lake. This is a rural area with still underdeveloped infrastructure and nature. Buljarica is the longest beach in the Budva Riviera, 2,200m long, with a wetland behind. The higher parts of the hinterland are one of the last native Mediterranean forests of oak and ash, where there is an auto-camp situated. Dry parts of the bay are used in agriculture for wine growing, horticulture and grazing.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Buljarica is one of the largest ecological complexes on the Adriatic coast, unique because of the untouched nature and indigenous species. Coast wetlands, where the mixing of salty and fresh water happens, stand as one of the rarest habitats in the Mediterranean. IBA standards recommend this site for protection because of its value as a habitat and as place of stay for a large number of endangered sea birds: cormorant, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, levant sparrow hawk, Accipiter brevipes; sea falcon, Falco eleonorae; Lanner falcon, Falco biarmicus; kestrel, Falco tinunculus, as well as the following songbirds: Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus; kingfisher, Alcedo atthis; Middle spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos medius; Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer; and Sombre tits, Parus lugubris. Buljarica is a significant part in the migratory corridor, which is confirmed by the strong hunting pressure during the winter: more species of ducks and waders use the beach for rest during migration, primarily ducks, Anas penelope, Anas acuta, Anas crecca, Anas querquedula and woodcocks, Calidris feruginea, Numenius phaeopus, and other.

HABITATS

At the contact with the sea, the beach was formed with coarser pebbles. The Beach is 30 m wide. In the hinterland of the beach there is an elevated natural embankment created by the activity of waves. The swamp in the hinterland is of the sea level, slowly rising to the mainland. There are drainage canals that contain water, and natural depressions which form few shallow ponds. In the nearest hinterland of the beach there is a thick reed that continues to the flood meadows and oak forest, swamp ash, elm and olive trees. Hills that surround the valley are covered with Mediterranean maquis, and also with cultivated olive groves. Habitat diversity by itself speaks of the complexity of the ecosystem, and also of the vulnerability of Buljarica.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

This is one of the most attractive locations at our coast, and the apparent danger to this area lies in the economic non-valorisation of this place. All of the other problems of this valley, including winter hunting, are insignificant in relation to the permanently lost space because of the urbanisation. Buljarica meets three of nine conditions of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, as a unique, rare and representative wetland on the east coast of the Adriatic, the habitat for many endangered species, not only birds but also the amphibians and reptiles, and a key site for bird migration.

 

TIVAT SOLILA (TIVAT SALINA)

Areas in hectares: 150
Altitude: 0-1 m
Conservation status: Special flora-fauna reserve, Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 42°23'36.59"N; 18°42'54.56"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Tivat Solila is located in the Tivat Bay of Boka Kotorska, covering the area of 150 ha. One half of the Solila belongs to muddy basins with embankments of the maximum height of 15 cm, which are filled with water from the sea, and the other half comprises of narrow basins and canals with marsh vegetation. These basins are separated by the entire length from the "sea" basins with the embankment 2 m high.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Until now, 47 species of birds associated with water habitats have been registered in Tivat Solila, four of which are permanently present, approximately 35 are wintering and six are probably breeding. Waterfowl registered in the Solila are the following: Gavia stellata, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Podiceps cristatus, P. nigricollis, Phalacrocorax carbo, P. pygmeus, Egretta garzetta, E. alba, Ardea cinerea, Plegadis falcinelus, Grus grus, Phoenicopterus ruber, Pandion haliaetus, Anas penelope, A. strepera, A. platyrhynchos, A. acuta, Melanita fusca, Ralus aquaticus, Gallinula chloropus, Fulica atra, Himantopus himantopus, Charadrius alexandrinus, C. dubius, Actitis hypoleuctos, Pluvialis squatarola, P. apricaria, Vanellus vanellus, Calidris alpina, Philomachus pugnax, Gallinago gallinago, Limosa limosa, Numenius arquata, Tringa totanus, T. nebularia, T. ochropus, Larus ridibundus, L. cachinnans, Alcedo atthis. With other groups of birds, songbirds, raptors, etc., there has so far been registered 111 species in the Solila. If we consider that further research has been carried out continuously, it is expected that a significantly larger number of species appear.

HABITATS

Tivat Solila represents unique shallow basins and canals with vegetation which has inhabited saline habitats that are present in Montenegro only at the Ulcinj Salina. Shallow, salted water, rich with fish and muddy bottom rich with benthos are very good food for birds. System of canals in eastern part drains surrounding areas and receives water from the Široka River, coming down from slopes of the Vrmac Hill and the Kolžun River, which drains Gornji Grbalj field. Water in the canals is fresh and contains waste industry water from Grbalj. Even though it is polluted, the freshwater is a habitat for other groups of animals, primarily insects, amphibians and reptiles, important for feeding of birds. During the summer, east half of the Solila is lefts without water, due to the drying up of both inlets. And the western part, filled with the tide, dries significantly.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Fifty years ago, the reactivation of the medieval salt pans has been anticipated for in this region. Crystallisation basins, systems of canals and embankments have been built already, but the production of salt has not started. The intensive presence of hunters during the long hunting season from 15 August to 15 March, make for the Salila not to accept for a long time most of the species that are registered for this area. Protection measures that exclude hunting prohibit any activity on the Solila, and restricting the development of farms of mussels and shrimp only to the sea bay in front of the protected area, contributed to the increase in the number of wintering and migrating flocks of birds in this area.

 

SKADAR LAKE

Area in hectares: 40,000
Altitude: 6-9 m
Conservation status: National park (1983); IBA (1989); Ramsar area (1995), Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42°11'2.14"N; 19°17'36.17"E
IBA criteria: A1, A3, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Skadar Lake is located in Zeta-Skadar valley. Two-thirds of the lake belongs to Montenegro, whilst the rest is Albanian territory. Surface area of the lake varies from 375 to 540 km2. Average depth of the lake is 4 m. The total quantity of water changes two to three times per year. The greatest quantity of water it gets from the Morača River, more than 60%, but there are also underwater springs, Raduš and Karuč as the biggest, than a number of rivers, Plavnica, Gostiljska, Crnojević River and others. The Bojana River connects the lake with the sea. It is a subtopic lake and it never freezes which is the base for organic production. The north coast is short, swampy and goes into the Zeta valley. South coast is steep and jagged. Along the coast there are islands Starčevo, Beška, Moračnik, Tophala, Gradac, Dužica, Skut, Grmožur and many other. Most of the islands have cultural significance because of the very old monasteries and castles.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

The lake has 281 species of birds registered so far. More than 90% of that number makes a mobile, migratory bird fauna. The capacity of the lake as the breeding site is large that was mostly used by: Podiceps cristatus, Tachybaptus ruficollis, Pelecanus crispus, Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Phalacrocorax carbo, Ardea cinerea, A. purpurea, Egretta garzetta, Ardeola ralloides, Botaurus Stellaris, Nycticorax nycticorax, Bubulcus ibis, Fulica atra, Chlidonias hybrida, Larus michahellis and Plegadis falcinellus. The most important breeding birds on the lake are the pelican and pygmy cormorant. The pelican is in the most western point of its areal and the cormorant, with more than 2,000 pairs, is one of the largest colonies of the endangered species in the world. More than 80 species of birds are breeding on the lake. Skadar Lake is also important as the wintering place, especially for the common coot, Fulica atra, which "carries" 60-80% of the total number of breeding wintering population of birds on the lake. There are also grebes, Podiceps cristatus, P. nigricollis; mallard, Anas plathyrynchos; common teal, A. crecca; Northern pintail, A. acuta; Eurasian wigeon, A. penelopa; tufted duck, Aythya fuligula; common pochard, A. ferina; ferruginous duck, A. nyroca; common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus; water rail, Rallus aquaticus; gull, L. ridibundus and others. 45 bird species are regular winter guests. Not less popular are migratory waves in autumn and spring of a large number of species that rest on the lake. Ornithological reserves Pančevo oko, Crni žar and Manstirska tapija, provide for excellent conditions for breeding.

HABITATS

Ecosystem of the Skadar Lake is extremely complex, sub Mediterranean type. This area includes a variety of biotopes: water biotope, marsh vegetation biotope, floodplain forests and meadows biotope, forests and scrub biotope and biotope of bushes and rocks ... This indicates to floral and vegetation diversity. Congregation of floating plants makes swamp vegetation, which takes up large area along the north coast and bays. Water lilies and water caltrops are most present. Large surface of the lake is under reed, Phragmites sp. There are willows, Salix sp present on floodplain areas. The only indigenous willow forest is the Manastirska tapija at the mouth of the Morača River, which shows the tendency of spreading. In the forests and boscage of the coastal zone and higher positions on the south karst coast, the most common of species is Carpinus orientalis – hornbeam and oak, Quercus ilex, and on the islands the laurel, Laurus nobilis. Sage, Salvia officinalis, grows on the rocks. There are the remains of maquis that used to flourish here. Skadar Lake has about 45 species fish with the domination of carp, Cyprinus caprio; goldfish, Carassius auratus gibellio, and bleak, Alburnus alburnus alborella.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

The general condition of the ecosystem is not satisfying. The decline in number of wintering bird population occurs as a consequence of several factors, the most common of which disturbance, poaching, early and intensive hunting. The lake is not zoned, so the tourist pressure, especially during summer months, is transferred to all its parts. Water quality of the Morača River at its inflow into the lake is extremely unsatisfactory. However, disturbance and loss of habitat are, it seems, crucial factors in the decline of the large number of bird species from the lake, starting from the harvesting of willow and laurel wood, and to a lesser extent cane harvest, illegal and legal construction, driving a speedboat, sailing, exploitation of gravel from the ornithological reserves of Manastirska tapija and others.

 

ĆEMOVSKO FIELD

Preserved surface area: 1,200 ha
Altitude: 25-40 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at local and national level; Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42°24'33.20"N; 19°19'11.43"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Ćemovsko Field belongs to the Zeta valley and plains of Cijevna and Morača rivers. It is mostly covered with plantations of peach and grapes, both products of "Plantaže", and small number of private vineyards. The field is fragmented by plantations, pits for exploitation of gravel and by private yards. North part of the Ćemovsko Field is occupied by a city landfill of Podgorica, a rich feeding ground for birds, especially during winter months. The field continues to the populated northern coast of the Skadar Lake and the Airport Golubovci is part of it as well. Extreme weather conditions in the field - a strong wind during winter, large temperatures during summer and frequent fires allow only for the development of steppe vegetation. Part of the fields around the Airport is under the planted forest of Aleppo pine.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Ćemovsko Field is the largest plain of Montenegro. The part which is planted and also the one which is not, is the habitat of partridges, Perdix perdix, and a large number of larks: Galerida cristata, Anthus campestris, and the breeding of the bee-eater, Merops apiaster. Preserved and ornithological significant part of the field is the open field, a typical habitat for breeding of stone-curlews, Burchinus oedicnemus. Residents of the surrounding mountains descend during the winter to the field, and we have registered Alpine Chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus and a griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus, as well. The landfill is significant feeding place for many species of birds, and the ringed Yellow-legged gull, Larus michahellis, proves their dispersion, especially from the neighboring Croatian islands. The turf is an excellent feeding place during the winter for a number of the prey from the surrounding mountains.

HABITATS

Vineyards, plantations of peaches, pine forests and preserved parts made up of the steppe, xenomorphic vegetation. City landfill is rich with bio-waste containers and small rodents.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Ćemovsko Field is the hunting ground of the local hunting club. It is significant resting and hunting ground for migrating raptors. Further expansion of plantations of fruit and degradation of the remaining part of the field, would cause permanent disappearance of some species. Serious danger is also the expansion of city towards the field, building of sports grounds, etc.

 

CIJEVNA RIVER CANYON

Length of the canyon section: 12 km
Altitude: 55-1,397 m
Conservation status: Unprotected area at local and national level, Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42°23'54.90"N; 19°24'56.36"E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Cijevna River springs in the Albanian part of the Mountain Prokletije. Length of the water course is 58,8 km, 32,3 km of which belonging to Montenegro. Length of the Montenegrin part of the canyon is 12 km. The longitudinal profile of the river has a drop of 1,350 m. Cijevna River is the most southern tributary of the Morača River and connects three important IBAs of Montenegro: Mountain Prokletije, Ćemovsko Field and Skadar Lake. The complex geomorphology with rock cuttings in some places over 1,000 m altitude, narrow canyon in the upper reaches and the valley at the exit of the canyon, the clean waters of the river, are the main IBA geo-characteristics. The canyon is located about ten kilometers from Podgorica.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Cijevna River Canyon was until recently the only habitat of the vultures, white buzzards, Neophron percnopterus, in Montenegro. During summer months, it is a significant breeding place for the Short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicu; Levant sparrowhawk, Accipiter brevipes; falcons and partridges, Alectoris graeca; Eurasian scoops owl, Otus scops; European nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus; Eurasian hoopoe, Upupa epops; crested lark, Galerida cristata; Black-eared wheatear, Oenante hispanica; Western rock nuthatch, Sitta neumayer and others.

HABITATS

The Canyon has 813 species of plants registered so far, accounting for a quarter of the total flora of the country. Of this number, about 300 plants are honey-rich plants and more than 60 are endemic species belonging to southeast Dinarides and the Balkan Peninsula. Mediterranean maquis and karst are habitats of several species of reptiles. Canyon cliffs are one of the most important habitats for raptors, and the breeding area for several species of swallows.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITAT AND SPECIES

For the Cijevna River Canyon it could be said it remained preserved. It was part of "the iron curtain" during the Cold War and as a border area it was heavily guarded. Cijevna enters the system of the "Green Belt Europe" because of some still virgin habitats, especially in the upper reaches of the river. Although extraordinarily important for biodiversity and the city of Podgorica, the Canyon was in some documents referred to as a reservoir that would absolutely destroyed its values.

 

NIKŠIĆ RESERVOIRS

Areas in hectares: 900 + 500 + 300
Altitude: 615 – 745 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at local and national level
Coordinates: Slano Lake 42o45'23.09''N, 18o51'08.55''E; Krupac Lake 42o48'01.27''N, 18o53'11.96''E; Liverovići Lake 42o44'48.89''N, 19o03'33.23''E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Nikšić reservoirs, Slano Lake and Krupac Lake, have been formed for the needs of the Hydropower plant "Perućica", by rearranging of the Nikšić Field on karst springs. Reservoir Liverovići is made by rearranging of the mountain river Gračanica for the needs of the Steelworks Nikšić. All of them have fresh and clean water, especially Slano and Krupac, which have constant inflow of spring water, which is discharged for the needs of the hydropower plant. Slano Lake has the biggest depth of 12 m, with jagged coastline and a lot of islands. Krupac Lake has a similar physiognomy and its depth is about 8 m, while the Liverovići Lake is the deepest, about 20 m. The surrounding of lakes is karst, with typical sub-Mediterranean vegetation. Lakes rarely freeze.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Nikšić reservoirs are wintering places for large number of birds. The lakes are also significant during migration. Food base mainly consists of artificially placed fish, and several species of invertebrates. Because these are relatively young lakes, and because constant fluctuations of the water lead to the biological minimum, there is no aquatic vegetation developed that could provide shelter for resident wetland birds. The most important object for migratory birds is the Slano Lake, with sometimes 20,000 birds. Some of the birds of Niksić reservoirs are: mallard, Anas platyrhynchos; tufted duck, Aythya fuligula; Common pochard, Aythya ferina; black necked grebe, Podiceps nigricollis; great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus; Black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus; Eurasian coot, Fulica atra; red-throated loon, Gavia stelatta etc. Apart from the reservoirs, flooded Budoške ponds are interesting for the birds, as well as many smaller water objects created by karst processes, rich with food, where one can meet woodcocks like common redshank, Tringa totanus; little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius; common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos; common snipe, Gallinago gallinago; than songbirds like Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis; red backed shrike, Lanius collurio; white and yellow wagtail, Motacilla alba, M. cinerea; robin, Erithacus rubecula etc. In the surrounding forests there are the following species: nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus; Song thrush, Turdus philomelos; nuthatch, Sitta europaea; Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus; buzzard, Buteo buteo and many others. On the banks of the Slano Lake, the colony of the Spanish sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis, is significant.

HABITATS

Habitats of Nikšić reservoirs have typical karst features. The banks of the Slano Lake and Krupac Lake are rocky and without vegetation, except for the islands which have forests of willow, ash and poplar. Near the lakes, there are deciduous forests of oak, hornbeam, queasy, pomegranate, holly, etc. Nikšić Field is characterised by large pastures and periodically flood and wet meadows that during the rainy season drench atmospheric water and water from karst springs. They are extremely important for the feeding of birds during migration.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Considering their purpose, Niksić reservoirs are not protected as natural objects. However, their importance for birds recommends them for protection, because they offer breeding place and place of stay for a large number of birds, and their surrounding area as well. Since they are located in a relatively unpopulated area, these lakes are not under anthropogenic hazards such as disturbance, pollution or habitat destruction. The most direct threat to wild birds is hunting, especially of migratory water birds. A constant threat in summer months is a drop of water levels below the biological minimum, which periodically leads to the disappearance of the food base for water birds.

 

MOUNTAIN PROKLETIJE

Areas in hectares: 17,000
Altitude: 900-2,528 m
Conservation status: National park since 2009; Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42°33'29.14"N; 19°54'48.54"E
IBA criteria: A3, B2, B3

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Prokletije is one of the most complex mountain groups on the Balkan Peninsula. Part of the Mountain Prokletije in Montenegro is bordered with rivers Cijevna, Lim and Ibar. Its main ridge is over 70 km long, with the highest peak in Montenegro – Kolac, 2,528 m of altitude. The Central part of this predominantly mountainous area is the Plav - Gusinje valley. It is, as an integral part of the Mountain Prokletije, surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks that are considered as most giant mountain grounds of the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. The complex of the Mountain Prokletije is characterised by many mountain groups, like: Bogićevica, Ujkov krš, Maja karanfili, Vezirova brada, Maja podgajs, Popadija, Trojan and others.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

On the Mountain Prokletije, 161 bird species have been registered so far, which have a different status: residents, breeding, wintering, migratory, passers-by. There are 80 species of resident breeding; 44 of migratory breeding; 13 of passers-by; eight of dispersing (stray); four wintering species. Prokletije is a center for breeding raptors in Montenegro, and numerous high-mountain species: European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus; short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus; golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos; peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus; Rock partrige, Alectoris graeca; scops owl, Otus scops; Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo; European nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus; woodlark, Lullula arborea; alpine accentor, Prunella collaris; common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis; ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus; wallcreeper, Tichodroma muraria; red backed shrike, Lanius collurio; alpine chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus; white winged snowfinch, Montifringilla nivalis; cirl bunting, Emberiza cirlus; rock bunting, Emberiza cia, and many others. The Mountain Prokletije is an important breeding site for more than 43% of the total bird fauna registered in Montenegro, and also the most important bird habitat in the continental part of the country. If we take into the account the discontinuity in research during winter, spring and early autumn months, and the fact that the Kosovo part of the range has 179 species registered, it is likely that the Mountain Prokletije is the center of the mountainous bird diversity Montenegro.

HABITATS

The influence of the continental and Mediterranean climate, as well as the composition of the soil, made the Mountain Prokletije abundant in rich diversity of plant and animal congregation and numerous endemic representatives of flora and fauna. Alpine vegetation occurs at high altitudes; conifers are mixed with deciduous forests. Spruce, Picea is dominant; pine, Pinus; maple, Acer and beech, Fagus. In the hydrographical sense, the Mountain Prokletije is the richest region of the Balkan Peninsula. As important habitats in this massif, the following stand out: Plavsko and Ridsko Lake, valleys Grebaje, Ropojana, Jezerce, Zastan and Bogićevica and rivers Grlja, Ljuča, Dolja, Vruja and others. Important habitats for birds are the valleys of Grebaje and Ropojana in all seasons, and Jezerce in summer months. These are also the most open lowland fields and an excellent training ground for hunting prey. In the cliffs of all of the three valleys, there was breeding of the golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, registered, as well as the usual presence of the griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus, in Montenegro.

PROTECTION MEASURES –VULNERABILITY OF HABITAT AND SPECIES

The Mountain Prokletije is without considering its level of economic development, endangered because of the anthropogenic influence, for example: irrational and intensive tree cutting, which leads to the erosion; river canyons full of garbage; inadequate exploitation of gravel; uncontrolled urbanisation of this area; uncontrolled hunting, especially of grouse and some raptors.

 

PLAVSKO LAKE

Area in hectares: 300
Altitude: 908 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at local and national level
Coordinates: 42o35'44.48''N, 19o55'30.22''E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Plavsko Lake lies at the foothills of the Mountain Prokletije. It is the largest glacier lake in Montenegro. It is a flowing type with the River Ljuča as the biggest tributary and the River Lim as the arm. The highest depth is 9 m. River Ljuča brings large amounts of sediment from the Mountain Prokletije, forming wide belt of wetland vegetation at the place of the inflow, with periodically flooded meadows. The Lake has quite fresh and clean water, regardless of the vicinity of the city of Plav and surrounding settlements. Ornithological importance of this site is based on the unique value of flood meadows of the River Ljuča, which spreads to the town of Vusanje.

ORNITHOLOOGICAL IMPORTANCE

Because of the geographical location, large area and small depth, as well as good climate conditions, the Plavsko Lake provides good conditions for the development of flora and fauna. Thanks to the indigenous population of fish, as well as rich plant base, it attracts water birds, some of which are regular breeding mallard, Anas platyrhynchos; tufted duck, Aythya fuligula; coot, Fulica atra; then little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis and bittern, Botaurus stellaris. However, significant are wet meadows, which offer excellent living conditions for birds from the IBA list of criteria, such as the endangered Corn Crake, Crex crex, with the largest breeding population of this bird species in Montenegro. Also, at the Plavsko Lake we can encounter the great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus; black-necked grebe, Podiceps nigricollis; Common pochard, Aythya ferina; common teal, Anas crecca, several species of herons and waders.

HABITATS

Plavsko Lake with its surrounding area can be divided into several habitats: narrow coastal strip of swamp vegetation, with dominating reeds and cattails, extending onto wide flood meadows in the lower course of the River Ljuča. This belt extends around the entire lake in the form of the ring with different width. On the east, the steeper side of the lake, there are dry meadows, and on the west there is a belt of planted poplar trees. The surrounding the Lake is inhabited and the aforementioned meadows are used for grazing.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Plavsko Lake is protected neither at local nor at the national level. Unfortunately, it is not even inside the borders of the future NP Prokletije. Continuous loading with sediment reduces the depth of the lake, leading to water logging, increasing food base in the lake, while on other side endangering the indigenous fauna. During summer months, swimmers disturb breeders in reeds, and its removal was registered from the shores of the lake. The area around the lake still represents unexploited tourist capacity, leading to the intensified activity in recent years for the construction of catering facilities, some of which are located on the shores of the lake. Zoning of the construction around the lake is an imperative.

 

MOUNTAIN HAJLA

Areas in hectares: 2,000 Altitude: 1,100-2,400 m
Conservation status: Unprotected at local and national level
Coordinates: 42o46'09.44''N, 20o07'21.10''E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Mountain Hajla is located in the Municipality of the city of Rožaje, on the outermost east part of Montenegro. This massif forms the southern border of Rožaje basin. The River Ibar flows through the valley. The relief is characterised with numerous mountain peaks with the height above 2,000 m, canyons and gorges of mountain rivers, caves, forested hills and mountain pastures. The highest peak of the Mountain Hajla is located on the bare rocky ridge, with the belt of mountain meadows below it, evergreen and mixed forests.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

The area of Hajla is one of the richest natural resources in Montenegro. Endless evergreen forests, dominated by spruce are habitats to raptors: European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus; northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis; Eurasian sparrow hawk, Accipiter nisus; short toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus; peregrine falcon, Falco peregrines; tawny owl, Strix aluco; long-eared owl, Asio otus; wood grouse, Tetrao urogallus; Hazel grouse, Bonasa bonasia; six species of woodpeckers, including the endangered three-toed woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus, then the spotted nutcracker, Nucifraga caryocatactes; tree creepers, Certhia familiaris, C. brachydactyla, as well as numerous forest songbirds. The open habitats, such as rocky terrain, meadows, pastures and clearings are inhabited with crested lark, Gallerida cristata; water pipit, Anthus spinoletta; rock partridge, Alectoris graeca; quail, Coturnix coturnix, while the rocky cliffs are breeding places for the Alpine Chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus and Wallcreepers, Tichodroma muraria. Slopes of Hajla are characterised with the mosaic arrangement of habitats, with belts of evergreen forests alternating with mountain meadows and pastures. At the saddle Ćafa Hajle there are stands of pine, Pinus mugo, with the following species residing: Sardinian Warbler, Sylvia atricapilla; Flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis; Wood Warbler, Phylloscopus sybilatrix; Bunting partridge, Emberiza cia. They alternate with alpine meadows, where we can encounter the forest Lark, Lullula arborea; Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe; Mountain Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, and in the lower and cultivated areas, white and Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava, M. flava; on the rocky cliffs and ravines resides the common wood pigeon, Columba palumbus, and on the banks of creeks we can encounter the white-throated Dipper, Cinclus cinclus.

HABITATS

The area of Hajla is characterised with a large number of habitats. There is first of all the coniferous forest interspersed with clearings, which extends in the form of irregular rings from 1,100 and 2,000 m altitude. Mountain pastures and lawn meadows are above the forest belt and alternate with pine vegetation, as well as with rocky ground, which end with cliffs. Numerous streams and gullies of the catchment of the River Ibar formed deep cuts and gorges with typical flora and fauna. In the lower region there is mixed forest, as well as anthropogenic landscape with orchards and cultivated fields.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITAT AND SPECIES

The greatest threat to natural values of the Mountain Hajla is the unreasonable legal and illegal logging and habitat destruction. Destroying of indigenous landscape leads to disappearance of specialist and endemic bird species and settlement of eurivalent species. Another anthropogenic factor of endangerment is poaching, causing the most endangered and rarest birds of Montenegro to suffer, like: the golden eagle, the great owl, vulture and the grouse, for example.

 

MOUNTAIN DURMITOR

Area in hectares: 39,000
Altitude: 530 – 2,523 m
Conservation status: National park since 1952; MAB since 1977; Emerald site under the Bern convention; UNESCO since 1980; IBA since 2001
Coordinates: 43o09'16.67''N; 19o07'27.33''E

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

National Park Durmitor is located in the northwest part of the country and covers the area of high mountains, planes and deep canyons. The Tara River Canyon is located in the Park (the highest depth of the canyon is 1,300 m), as well as canyons of rivers Komarnica, Grabovica, Sušica and some small rivers. Mountain Durmitor massif includes more than 40 peaks over 2,000 m altitude and the massif has 18 glacial lakes. Durmitor is the biggest ski center in the country.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

On the Mountain Durmitor, 172 bird species have been registered so far. Of that number, 125 species are breeders. The latest research showed that 127 bird species have been registered inside the borders of the Park and the Tara Canyon, of which 112 species were breeders. Significant number of breeders in the Park, due to whom it has been granted the status of the IBA in 2001 are: Pernis apivorus, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, Falco peregrinus, Alectoris graeca, Perdix perdix, Coturnix coturnix, Tetrao urogallus, Bubo bubo, Otus scops, Aegolius funereus, Caprimulgus europaeus, Picoides tridactylus, Picus canus, P. viridis, Lullula arborea, Alauda arvensis, Turdus torquatus, Saxicola rubetra, Monticola saxatilis, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Lanius minor, Lanius collurio, Certhia brachydactyla, Tichodroma muraria, Montifringilla nivalis, Eremophila alpestris, Parus monatus, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Nucifraga caryocatactes, Emberiza cirlus and Emberiza cia. There are also Columba palumbus, Strix aluco, Dendrocopos syriacus, Prunella modularis, Erithacus rubecula, Luscinia megarhynchos, Turdus philomelos, Sylvia communis, Regulus regulus, Parus cristatus, Carduelis cannabina and Emberiza citrinella. On the Mountain Durmitor there is a cron crake, Crex crex breeding (a significant number for Montenegro).

HABITATS

18 mountain lakes, more than 40 rocky peaks above 2,000 m altitude, dense forests of fir, beech forests, pine habitat and the spacious plateau of Durmitor, are habitats which characterise this mountain. Recent research of the flora of Durmitor and surrounding canyons found more than 1,700 plant species. About 900 species make for high mountain flora, which inhabit the area above 1,500 m altitude. As for the characteristic birds, this habitat can be divided into: high mountain rocky ground, rocks and cliffs, high mountain lakes, wet meadows, pastures, glades, high mountain evergreen forests and mixed coniferous - deciduous forests. Every one of these habitats has its own specific ornythofauna: high and steep hillside, and rocky areas are home to mountain pipits and horned larks, mountain sparrow and wallcreepers, while the highest and most inaccessible cliffs are home to breeding alpine choughs and golden eagle; forests are home to breeding of numerous songbirds, like coal tit, Parus ater, black woodpecker, Dryocopus martius, red crossbill, Nuthatch, then the birds of the family of hen: grouse, hazel grouse; raptors: Eurasian sparrowhawk, buzzard, Eurasian hobby, Falco Subbuteo; honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus. The pastures and wet meadows are habitats to crested larks, Galerida cristata; quails, Coturnix coturnix; corn crakes, Crex Crex; and on the lakes and riparian vegetation we can register the mallard, common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula; little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis; water rail, Rallus aquaticus and others.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Researching ornythofauna until 1990, 163 bird species were registered on Durmitor. Ten years later, almost 40 species which had been registered in the late 80's of the last century were not registered on Durmitor. The changes were especially noticed with wood species, which speaks of drastical cutting (legal and illegal) on this mountain. Lake tourism chased away the Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula, which has not been breeding on Durmitor for 50 years. Crno (Black) Lake does not have any water nesting birds. For 40 years now, there is not even the breeding black grouse, Tetrao tetrix, on Durmitor and all the vultures and red-billed choughs have gone. Today, the most vulnerable are the kinds associated with the forest: grouse, owls, three-toed woodpecker and others. Birds are paying toll because of legal and illegal urbanisation, poor management and harvesting in the mountain. The survival of many of them is questionable.

 

BIOGRADSKA GORA

Areas in hectares: 19,800
Altitude: 850-2,139 m
Conservation status: prohibition by the King Nikola since 1878; National park since 1952, IBA since 2001; Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42o53'54.45''N, 19o35'58.12''E
IBA criteria: B2, B3

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION

Biogradska Gora forest, the national park of the same name, is located in the northeast part of Montenegro, as part of the mountain masiff of the Mountain Bjelasica. Central part of the Park is Biogradsko Lake, of 1,094 m altitude, which is surrounded with the rainforest. Protected zone area of 14,400 ha is located around the central zone of the Park, surfacing 5,400 ha. The lowest parts of the Park are bordering with the River Tara. The Mountain Bjelasica has six lakes, mostly uninteresting ornithologically: the biggest, Biogradsko, Pešića, Šiško, Ševarine and two Ursulovačka lakes.

ORNITHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE

With its variety of ecological niches, this mountain is a quality habitat for the stay of forest birds. Historical data showed that since the 19th century the western capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus, the hazel grouse, Bonasa bonasia and the golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, have been intensively hunted. Biogradska Gora inhabits 126 species of birds. White-winged Snow Finch, Montifringilla nivalis; Horned Lark, Eremophila Alpestris; Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Picoides tridactylus, are part of the rich bird fauna of the mountain. The massif of Bjelasica is insufficiently studied and IBA conditions had been satisfied in 2001, because of the unknown population size of Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, Falco subbuteo, Falco peregrinus, Alectoris graeca, Perdix perdix, Coturnix coturnix, Bubo bubo, Otus scops, Caprimulgus europaeus, Picus canus, Picus viridis, Lullula arborea, Alauda arvensis, Turdus torquatus, Saxicola rubetra, Monticola saxatilis, Lanius collurio, Certhia brachydactyla, Parus lugubris, Emberiza cirlus, Emberiza cia, Columba palumbus, Strix aluco, Dendrocopos syriacus, Prunella modularis, Erithacus rubecula, Luscinia megarhynchos, Turdus philomelos, Sylvia communis, Regulus regulus, Parus cristatus, Carduelis cannabina and Emberiza citrinella.

HABITATS

Habitats of Bjelasica can be divided into alpine pastures, conifer forest, rocky grounds, deciduous forest and wetlands. Each of these habitats are characterised by specific ornithofauna and represent an individual natural asset. The highest altitudes and inhospitable cliffs are inhabited with several types of birds, that stay during the short summer, for example: alpine chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus; common swift, Apus apus; Alpine Accentor, Prunella collaris; high mountain pastures are inhabited with the ordinary lark, Alauda arvensis; little owl, Athene noctua; ordinary accentor, Prunella modularis; red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio and others. Evergreen forests are characterised by large number of songbirds, such as gold crests and fire crests, Regulus regulus and R. ignicapilus; common finch, Fringilla coelebs; Coal Tit, Parus ater; Bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, and the grouse. The birds of deciduous forests are also the prey, such as buzzard, Buteo buteo; Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus; tawny owl, Strix aluco; then many songbirds: hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes; great tit, Parus major; green woodpecker, Picus viridis; mistle thrush, Turdus viscivorus and many others.

PROTECTION MEASURES – VULNERABILITY OF HABITATS AND SPECIES

Although it has been the National Park since 1952, the Biogradska Gora has been protected since 1878 as the "Duke's preserve". The strictest level of protection enjoys the rainforest Biogradska Gora and the Biogradsko Lake. The scientific research is the only thing permitted in the rainforest, which is still well preserved. In the zone of mountain pastures, some habitats have been used for the construction of tourist facilities. As in other parts of Montenegro, the greatest threat to the habitat of the IBA is the building of roads and tourist facilities, as well as the deforestation. Zoning of the movement of great number of tourists every year is necessary. Birds such as the golden eagle, grouse or the owl have been brought to the brink of survival, or are completely extinct, mostly by poachers.

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