Dalmatian Pelicans

Help for the rarest pelican in the world

© Ondrej Vizi
© Ondrej Vizi

The Dalmatian Pelican is the rarest pelican worldwide. In South East Europe this white pelican with its ”mane” of head and neck feathers breeds in the Danube delta and also in a few lakes in the Balkans. In order to breed it has to have access to fish-filled, still water undisturbed by human activity with extensive flooded and shallow water areas. But habitats of this description have become extremely rare in Europe.

Where is EuroNatur at work for the protection of the Dalmatian Pelican?

EuroNatur is working to secure the last breeding areas for the Dalmatian pelican and to build up further stable breeding colonies. One focus is Lake Skadar in the border area between Albania and Montenegro on the Balkan Green Belt. With its extensive shallow waters and floating, reed-covered, peat island it seems to provide the Dalmatian Pelican with ideal breeding sites

But the reality looks different: although the Montenegrin part is already designated a National Park even in its core areas hunting and fishing still goes on. EuroNatur is committed to changing that. The largest Dalmatian Pelican colony lives on Little Prespa Lake in the borderland between Albania, Macedonia and Greece where meantime it has 1000 pairs and so one fifth of the world population. While other nature conservation organisations take care of direct protection measures for the Dalmatian Pelican EuroNatur is concerned with improvement in the protection of this ecologically precious region on the Balkan Green Belt (read more here).

What actions are EuroNatur and its partners taking for the protection of the Dalmatian pelican on Lake Skadar?

  • Creating new breeding places: In the frame of the projekt "Conservation of Pelicans, a Key Biodiversity Species of Skadar Lake" we support the Skutari National Park in setting up nesting platforms on peat islands, so that they have ideal conditions for breeding.
  • Keeping an eye on pelican numbers: The breeding colonies are regularly and reliably  documented.
  • Securing the long-term success of breeding: the development of a large, contiguous protection zone in the Green Belt is dedicated among other things to protecting the last remaining breeding pairs of Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Skadar from disturbance and guaranteeing the success of the breeding in the long term.
  • Developing concrete protection concepts: the entire lake is admittedly protected as a Ramsar Area and additionally in its Montenegrin part as a National Park but so far there has been no concrete implementation of protection measures prescribed for the area of the lake. EuroNatur has designed a concrete zonation concept for Lake Skadar and has worked out guidelines for the zonation with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)


Partners : Noé Conservation, Lake Skadar National Park, Tour du Valat, The Association for Protection of Aquatic Wildlife in Albania (APAWA), The Montenegrin Centre for Research and Protection of Birds (CZIP), The Natural History Museum of Montenegro, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, engl. German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation), communities to the North of Lake Skadar

Sponsoring: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), EuroNatur donor and sponsors

Read more about the EuroNatur projects areas Lake Skadar and Prespa-Ohrid

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Short film „Skadar“ on Vimeo

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