Turistička zajednica grad Metković

Ornithological fauna

The Neretva valley, together with its swamp-dwelling birds, (permanent and migratory), has been proclaimed A Swamp Area of International Value at the Ramara Convention on the Protection of Swamp Areas. It has also been protected by the programme of the Important Bird Areas in Europe by Bird Life International.

The variety of bird species in the Neretva valley attracted the attention of numerous visitors, travel writers and scien­tists. Ornithologists have noted more than 310 species in the last hundred years and the va­riety of bird-life is well rep­resented in the Ornithological Collection in Metković.

Flocks of turtle-doves, goldfinches, cuckoos, etc.  nest, feed, call and flutter in the bushes and groves of the nearby areas. On the highest and most inaccessible places, there live golden eagles, snake-catching eagles, falcons and windhovers; but also wood pigeon, white swifts ...

There is not a single histori­cal or noble coat of arms in the Neretva region without a falcon. Swallows, swifts and the ubiquitous sparrow build their nests and find their food near the settlements. They can be quite tame, en­livening gardens, orchards and vineyards. 21 species nest in swamp habitats: grebes build floating nests in deeper waters; in the willow groves and reeds, there are colonies of cormo­rants, herons and egrets feed­ing on the amphibians, reptiles, small fish and mice. Three sorts of duck nest in dense swamp land: the wild duck, Garganey (Anas querquedula) and auk.

The most popular bird in the Neretva for hunters and gourmets is the black coot (Fulica atra) due to its excel­lent taste. The pebble banks of the Neretva offer a refuge to numerous smaller birds, as well as to those excellent div­ers: the Kingfisher and Beeeater. Resident bird make up only a third of the species in the Neretva-the majority are migratory. When ice and the winter snows cover nourthern Europe, they come to the Neretva. The ornithologist Rucner says: “The great migration of birds in the estuary is a precious and inde­scribable experience which should not be missed by anyone who is involved in this science.” We would add that am­ateurs would be no less amazed. The Neretva is almost a perfect winter area for birds.

It is an ecologically interesting combination of con­tinental and north sea condi­tions set in the Mediterranean, where migrating birds find im­portant biotopes and habitats identical to those in which they nest. They recognize an area abundant in food and climati­cally ideal as the waters do not freeze up. When the sea recedes at low tide, a multitude of small worms, crabs, shells and small­er fish remain on the sandy and silted banks, offering a feast for the flocks of terns, gulls and trill-sounding birds and other species belonging to the banks of northern seas, north­ern tundra, and even some of them to the African belt.

Due to its position on their migration to Africa, the Neretva has an exceptional frequen­cy of birds. The large swamplands with­in the valley, flooded wood­lands and karst woods attract a variety of species. Flocks of snipes, coots, egrets and even seventeen spe­cies of duck inhabit the area by the swamp region, next to the channels and reed-beds. There are also several species of geese here. The delta has an abundance of bird-life, but unfortunately, depleted in recent years for some species. Changes in the landscape reduced the pristine, untouched areas and thus caused the loss of some species like the white- tail sea eagle, which needs an immense hunting area, or the curly pelican which succumbed to the fishermen long ago and moved away.

Read 10846 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2015 10:40