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Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance

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Identification of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) is an initiative implemented by BirdLife International at the global level, aiming to conserve a network of sites that are particularly important for the conservation of birds. With the changed conservation status of some species and increased information on the distribution and population sizes of birds in Macedonia in general, a revision of the IBA network was needed to update previous inventories for this country, published in 1989 and 2000. As the bird fauna of the Republic of Macedonia ranks among the least known in Europe, and as data on many species, notably passerines, are still largely missing, the inventory is mainly based on some threatened or rare birds of prey and a few other larger species, yet characteristic of the Macedonian landscape. Data used were collected in the course of different dedicated studies and projects carried out after 2000. Out of 314 species so far registered in Macedonia, 114 regularly occurring species have currently unfavourable conservation status in Europe, 84 of which breed or possibly breed in the country. Several criteria for the selection of IBAs of global (A criterion) and European importance (B criterion) developed by BirdLife International were used for sites selection, taking into consideration species of global conservation concern (A1), biome-restricted species (A3), important congregations (A4, B1) and species with an unfavourable conservation status (B2) or concentrated (B3) in Europe. Species of global conservation concern used for site identification include the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, considered Endangered (EN) at the global level according to the latest IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus and Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (both Vulnerable – VU), and Roller Coracias garrulus and Semicollared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata (both Near Threatened – NT). Furthermore, species assemblages characteristic as occurring mostly or entirely within a Eurasian high-montane or Mediterranean biome are found in Macedonia. Important congregations of non-breeding waterbirds with at least 1% of global or biogeographic populations of individual species occur on all three large lakes in the country, some of them (e.g. Dalmatian Pelican, Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina) in very large numbers, surpassing the 1% threshold by more than tenfold. In total, 25 species regularly occurring in 182 the breeding season, for which the site protection approach is thought to be appropriate in Macedonia, were used for the selection of sites of European importance. Site boundaries were drawn following distinct natural features or isohypses to include breeding sites and foraging areas of triggering species, and, for Imperial Eagle and Egyptian Vulture also former breeding sites back to 1991, taking into consideration their habitat requirements, land-use and management needs. The resulting IBA list numbers 24 sites, covering 6,907 km2 or 26.9% of the entire territory of Macedonia: (1) Šar Planina Mountain, (2) River Radika Catchment, (3) Lake Ohrid, (4) Lake Prespa, (5) Demir Kapija Gorge, (6) Lake Dojran, (7) Zletovska River Valley, (8) Tikveš Region, (9) Pčinja - Petrošnica - Kriva Reka Rivers, (10) Preod - Gjugjance, (11) Osogovo Mountains, (12) Jakupica Mountain, (13) Taor Gorge, (14) Ovče Pole, (15) Topolka - Babuna - Bregalnica Rivers, (16) Gradsko - Rosoman - Negotino, (17) Lake Mantovo and Kriva Lakavica River, (18) Raec River Valley, (19) Pelagonia, (20) Mariovo, (21) Lake Tikveš, (22) Bošavija, (23) Kočani Rice Fields, and (24) Lower Vardar. With the exception of three sites occupying the highest parts of the large mountain massifs in NW and central parts of Macedonia, and the lakes Ohrid and Prespa, sites are concentrated mostly in central hilly and lowland parts of the country, comprising breeding areas of species of global conservation concern. The percentage of territory covered by the IBAs in Macedonia is relatively high compared to the total European average but comparable to several countries in SE parts of Europe. The size of separate IBAs ranges from 25 km2 (Taor Gorge) to 1,136 km2 (Pelagonia) and number of triggering species per site from one (Bošavija, Kočani Rice Fields) to 17 (Pčinja - Petrošnica - Kriva Reka Rivers). 22 sites trigger some of the criteria of global importance – three sites (Lakes Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran) meet A4 criterion, eight sites hold significant populations of species characteristic of the Mediterranean biome, while three other sites sustain significant populations characteristic of the European high-montane biome. Species of global conservation concern are included as follows: Egyptian Vulture on 13 sites, Imperial Eagle on 7, Dalmatian Pelican and Saker Falcon Falco cherrug on 2, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca on 3, Roller Coracias garrulus on 10, Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus on 3 sites, and Semi-collared Flycatcher on 1 site. Individual triggering species for sites of European importance are represented on 2–15 sites. The IBA network includes 80–100% of the national populations of the globally threatened species, while the coverage of other species vary between 5% and 100%, being over 40% in great majority of species. Nonirrigated arable land and transitional woodland-shrub are dominant land-cover types, jointly covering 32% of the total IBA surface area. Abandonment of traditional pastoral system, resulting in decrease of the livestock numbers and overgrowing as well as trapping, poisoning and poaching, are considered the most serious threats for triggering species, particularly the Egyptian Vulture and Imperial Eagle, being classified as high on no less than 11 sites, respectively. The national legal protection of the sites is incomplete, being either only partial or with inadequate conservation measures adopted, or, many sites still lack any form of legal protection. With about 21% of the National protected area network overlapping with the IBAs, the existing protected area system is thus insufficient for conservation of most priority species. Notably underrepresented are the regions in the lower parts of the country with the highest number of species of global conservation concern.
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181
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
doi: 10.2478/v10100-010-0009-2
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European
Importance
Mednarodno pomembna območja za ptice globalnega in evropskega pomena v
Makedoniji
Metodija Velevski1, Ben Hallmann2, Bratislav Gruba~3, Tome Lisi~anec4, Emilian Stoynov5, Emanuel
Lisi~anec4, Vasko Avukatov6, Luka Boži~7 & Borut Stumberger8
1 Macedonian Ecological Society, P.O. Box 162, MK−1000 Skopje, Macedonia, e–mail: velevski@mes.org.mk
2 GR−40008 Rapsani, Greece, e−mail: benhallmann@gmail.com
3 Institute for Nature Protection of Serbia, Voždova 14, RS-18000 Niš, Serbia, e−mail: grubacbratislav@gmail.com
4 Aquila Nature Conservation Association, Belasica 3, MK−1400 Kavadarci, Macedonia, e−mail: e.lisichanets@gmail.com
5 Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, BG−2700 Blagoevgrad, P.O. Box 78, Bulgaria, e−mail: pirin@fw.org
6 Macedonian Ecological Society, P.O. Box 162, MK−1000 Skopje, Macedonia, e−mail: avukatov@mes.org.mk
7 DOPPS - BirdLife Slovenia, Kamenškova 18, SI−2000 Maribor, Slovenia, e−mail: luka.bozic@dopps.si
8 EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, D−78315 Radolfzell, Germany, e−mail: stumberger@siol.net
Identication of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) is an initiative implemented
by BirdLife International at the global level, aiming to conserve a network
of sites that are particularly important for the conservation of birds. With
the changed conservation status of some species and increased information
on the distribution and population sizes of birds in Macedonia in general, a
revision of the IBA network was needed to update previous inventories for
this country, published in 1989 and 2000. As the bird fauna of the Republic
of Macedonia ranks among the least known in Europe, and as data on many
species, notably passerines, are still largely missing, the inventory is mainly
based on some threatened or rare birds of prey and a few other larger species,
yet characteristic of the Macedonian landscape. Data used were collected in the
course of dierent dedicated studies and projects carried out after 2000. Out of
314 species so far registered in Macedonia, 114 regularly occurring species have
currently unfavourable conservation status in Europe, 84 of which breed or
possibly breed in the country. Several criteria for the selection of IBAs of global
(A criterion) and European importance (B criterion) developed by BirdLife
International were used for sites selection, taking into consideration species
of global conservation concern (A1), biome-restricted species (A3), important
congregations (A4, B1) and species with an unfavourable conservation status
(B2) or concentrated (B3) in Europe. Species of global conservation concern
used for site identication include the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus,
considered Endangered (EN) at the global level according to the latest IUCN
Red List of reatened Species, Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus and Imperial
Eagle Aquila heliaca (both Vulnerable – VU), and Roller Coracias garrulus
and Semicollared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata (both Near reatened
NT). Furthermore, species assemblages characteristic as occurring mostly or
entirely within a Eurasian high-montane or Mediterranean biome are found
in Macedonia. Important congregations of non-breeding waterbirds with at
least 1% of global or biogeographic populations of individual species occur
on all three large lakes in the country, some of them (e.g. Dalmatian Pelican,
Red-crested Pochard Netta runa) in very large numbers, surpassing the 1%
threshold by more than tenfold. In total, 25 species regularly occurring in
182
the breeding season, for which the site protection approach is thought to be
appropriate in Macedonia, were used for the selection of sites of European
importance. Site boundaries were drawn following distinct natural features or
isohypses to include breeding sites and foraging areas of triggering species, and,
for Imperial Eagle and Egyptian Vulture also former breeding sites back to 1991,
taking into consideration their habitat requirements, land-use and management
needs. e resulting IBA list numbers 24 sites, covering 6,907 km2 or 26.9% of
the entire territory of Macedonia: (1) Šar Planina Mountain, (2) River Radika
Catchment, (3) Lake Ohrid, (4) Lake Prespa, (5) Demir Kapija Gorge, (6) Lake
Dojran, (7) Zletovska River Valley, (8) Tikveš Region, (9) Pčinja - Petrošnica
- Kriva Reka Rivers, (10) Preod - Gjugjance, (11) Osogovo Mountains, (12)
Jakupica Mountain, (13) Taor Gorge, (14) Ovče Pole, (15) Topolka - Babuna
- Bregalnica Rivers, (16) Gradsko - Rosoman - Negotino, (17) Lake Mantovo
and Kriva Lakavica River, (18) Raec River Valley, (19) Pelagonia, (20) Mariovo,
(21) Lake Tikveš, (22) Bošavija, (23) Kočani Rice Fields, and (24) Lower
Vardar. With the exception of three sites occupying the highest parts of the large
mountain massifs in NW and central parts of Macedonia, and the lakes Ohrid
and Prespa, sites are concentrated mostly in central hilly and lowland parts of the
country, comprising breeding areas of species of global conservation concern.
e percentage of territory covered by the IBAs in Macedonia is relatively high
compared to the total European average but comparable to several countries in
SE parts of Europe. e size of separate IBAs ranges from 25 km2 (Taor Gorge)
to 1,136 km2 (Pelagonia) and number of triggering species per site from one
(Bošavija, Kočani Rice Fields) to 17 (Pčinja - Petrošnica - Kriva Reka Rivers). 22
sites trigger some of the criteria of global importance – three sites (Lakes Ohrid,
Prespa and Dojran) meet A4 criterion, eight sites hold signicant populations of
species characteristic of the Mediterranean biome, while three other sites sustain
signicant populations characteristic of the European high-montane biome.
Species of global conservation concern are included as follows: Egyptian Vulture
on 13 sites, Imperial Eagle on 7, Dalmatian Pelican and Saker Falcon Falco
cherrug on 2, Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca on 3, Roller Coracias garrulus on
10, Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus on 3 sites, and Semi-collared Flycatcher
on 1 site. Individual triggering species for sites of European importance are
represented on 2–15 sites. e IBA network includes 80–100% of the national
populations of the globally threatened species, while the coverage of other species
vary between 5% and 100%, being over 40% in great majority of species. Non-
irrigated arable land and transitional woodland-shrub are dominant land-cover
types, jointly covering 32% of the total IBA surface area. Abandonment of
traditional pastoral system, resulting in decrease of the livestock numbers and
overgrowing as well as trapping, poisoning and poaching, are considered the
most serious threats for triggering species, particularly the Egyptian Vulture
and Imperial Eagle, being classied as high on no less than 11 sites, respectively.
e national legal protection of the sites is incomplete, being either only partial
or with inadequate conservation measures adopted, or, many sites still lack
any form of legal protection. With about 21% of the National protected area
network overlapping with the IBAs, the existing protected area system is thus
insucient for conservation of most priority species. Notably underrepresented
are the regions in the lower parts of the country with the highest number of
species of global conservation concern.
Key words: Important Bird Areas, IBA identication, triggering species,
population size, IBA criteria, species of global conservation concern, threats,
Macedonia
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
183
1. Introduction
1.1. IBA programme and its history in Macedonia
Identication of the Important Bird Areas (hereinafter
referred to as to “IBAs” ) is an initiative implemented
by BirdLife International at the global level, aiming
to conserve a network of sites that are particularly
important for the conservation of birds, i.e. for globally
threatened species, species of European conservation
concern, for migratory species that congregate in high
numbers, species unique for small regions (endemic
species) and sites that support species assemblages
highly representative of a distinct biome (Heath &
Evans 2000).
e rst IBA inventory that covered Europe was
published in 1989, and within, Macedonia was
elaborated as a part of former Yugoslavia. At that
time, B. Gruba compiled the data of the seven
terrestrial sites, while the lakes were included on the
basis of results from the mid-winter censuses in 1987
and 1988 (Grimmett & Jones 1989). At that time,
10 IBAs were identied (Table 1, Figure 1), with a
total coverage of 2,709 km2 (ca. 10% of the territory
of Macedonia). is list was partially revised in 2003,
when three new IBAs were proposed by E. Stoynov
and accepted by BirdLife International. Two of them
(Rice Plantations of Bregalnica and Zletovska Rivers,
MK012 and Tikveš, MK013) were proposed on the
basis of A1 criterion, supporting populations of Lesser
Kestrels Falco naumanni and/or Imperial Eagles
Aquila heliaca, while the third (Bistrenci Fishpond,
MK011) was already within the boundaries of the
previously identied IBA Demir Kapija Gorge
(MK008), and was proposed under criterion B1iv
(assumed bottleneck for passage of > 5000 White
Storks Ciconia ciconia).
With the changed conservation status of some
species (especially uplisting the Egyptian Vulture
Neophron percnopterus and the Roller Coracias garrulus
as Endangered and Near reatened in 2007), and
increased information on the distribution of these as
well as other species (Lesser Kestrel, Imperial Eagle, etc.)
in Macedonia, with a more accurate estimation of their
populations, a revision of the IBA network was needed.
1.2. Bird fauna of Macedonia
Bird fauna of the Republic of Macedonia is among
the least known in Europe, which is particularly
true regarding the knowledge on distribution and
quantitative population estimations, as can be
witnessed by the gaps in the Atlas of European
Breeding Birds (Hagemeijer & Blair 1997) and some
rather imprecise estimates (BirdLife International
2004). Although the territory presently covered by the
country has been of interest of foreign ornithologists
in the period before the First and Second World
Wars, and several milestone publications have been
published with data from that period (Gengler 1920,
Stresemann 1921, Makatsch 1950), later studies
(until 2000) have been mostly sporadic, short-term or
localized in coverage. Notable exceptions are the works
of Dimovski (1967), studying the fauna of birds in
Skopje Valley in the 1955–1959 period and Micevski
(1998 & 2003) for Lakes Prespa (1987–1997) and
Ohrid (1988–2000). Quantitative information on
bird numbers and densities is also rare – in his papers,
Dimovski (1967, 1971a & 1971b) provides information
on the frequencies of ndings of the species he had
registered and their relative abundance only. e rst
and so far the only quantitative study of the terrestrial
bird communities has been performed on Mt Galičica
in the 1985–1989 period (Micevski 1990), while
precise gures for the wintering populations at the
three large lakes (Ohrid, Prespa and Dojran) have
been gathered during several mid-winter counts (e.g.
Micevski 1991 & 1996, Fremuth et al. 2000).
Situation has been similar when censuses of
particular species are concerned the only complete
countrywide census being the White Stork census in
1958 (Joveti} 1960). Later, somewhat less thorough
in coverage, have been the works on the Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos in the 1980–1985 period, Lanner
Falcon Falco biarmicus (1980–1994) and Long-legged
Buzzard Buteo runus (1980–1995) (Gruba~ 1986/87,
Ključne besede: Mednarodno pomembna območja za ptice, opredelitev IBA,
kvalikacijske vrste, velikost populacij, IBA kriteriji, vrste globalne varstvene
pozornosti, dejavniki ogrožanja, Makedonija
Клучни зборови: значајни подрачја за птици, идентификација на ЗПП,
видови кои ги исполнуваат критериумите за ЗПП, големина на популација,
критериуми за избор на ЗПП, видови од глобален интерес за зачувување,
закани, Македонија
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
184
Table 1: List of IBAs in Macedonia identified during the 1989 (Gr i m m e t t & Jo n e s 1989) and 2000 inventories (He a t H & ev a n s
2000). Surface areas were recalculated by the Macedonian Ecological Society since the GIS technology has become available.
Tabela 1: Seznam makedonskih IBA-jev, opredeljenih med popisi leta 1989 (Gr i m m e t t & Jo n e s 1989) in 2000 (He a t H & ev a n s
2000). Povr{ine obmo~ij je na novo izra~unalo Makedonsko ekolo{ko dru{tvo s pomo~jo tehnologije GIS.
IBA code/
IBA koda Site name / Ime območja
Centroid
coordinates/
Koordinate
centroida
Surface area/
Površina (km2)
Surface area
(recalculated)/
Površina
(preračunana) (km2)
MK001 Shara Mountain [parts of] 21˚00’E, 42˚00’N 120.0 159.5
MK002 Korab Mountain and Radika Gorge 21˚15’E, 41˚45’N 500.0 651.4
MK003 Babuna Gorge, Topolka Gorge, and Crn Kamen 245’E, 440’N 25.0 38.5
MK004 Bregalnica River 22˚00’E, 445’N 100.0 306.9
MK005 Lake Ohrid 20˚45’E, 407’N 251.0 246.1
MK006 Lake Prespa 21˚00’E, 40˚49’N 189.2 196.3
MK007 Crna River Gorge 22˚00’E, 41˚19’N 400.0 504.4
MK008 Demir Kapija Gorge 22˚19’E, 41˚19’N 80.0 122.0
MK009 Kozhuf Mountain and Boshava River 22˚15’E, 41˚10’N 200.0 460.3
MK010 Lake Dojran 22˚45’E, 41˚12’N 42.0 23.8
Total / Skupaj 1,9 07.2 2,709.2
Figure 1: Map of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Macedonia identified in 1989 (Gr i m m e t t & Jo n e s 1989, He a t H & ev a n s 2000)
Slika 1: Zemljevid mednarodno pomembnih obmo~ij za ptice (IBA-jev) v Makedoniji, opredeljenih leta 1989 (Gr i m m e t t & Jo n e s
1989, He a t H & ev a n s 2000)
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
185
1994 & 1999), Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria (1980–
2000) (Gruba~ 2001) and vultures (1980–1997) (e.g.
Gruba~ 1989 & 1997).
e checklist of birds of Macedonia lists 314 species
(Micevski 2002/2003), but since then information
on two more species (Pallid Swift Apus pallidus,
Vasi} et al. 2009, and Great Black-headed Gull Larus
ichthyaethus, Velevski & Savelji} 2010) has become
available. Since 2009, updated checklists of birds of
Macedonia and almost complete list of references for
the country have been available online (Velevski 2011,
Velevski & Stumberger 2011a & 2011b).
Based on information compiled by E. Stoynov, B.
Hallmann and M. Velevski, BL 
(2004) provides quantitative estimation for all breeding
bird species regularly found in the country. However,
in most cases these estimations are of poor quality and
with very wide margins. For the few species for which
more precise information is available, the information
has been largely collected in the 2000–2003 period,
mostly through dierent conservation projects (see
Chapter 2.2.). After this publication, new or updated
population estimates become available for few more
species – Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus (Velevski
& Gruba~ 2007), Black Stork Ciconia nigra (Velevski
et al. 2008), and the Lanner Falcon (Gruba~ &
Velevski 2010).
114 regularly occurring species in Macedonia have
currently unfavourable conservation status in Europe
(SPEC 1 – nine species, SPEC 2 33 species, SPEC
3 – 72 species), 84 of which breed or possibly breed
in the country. Out of them, one species, the Egyptian
Vulture, is considered Endangered (EN), three
(Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Imperial Eagle
and Saker Falcon Falco cherrug) Vulnerable (VU),
and ve more (Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, Red-
footed Falcon Falco vespertinus, Black-tailed Godwit
Limosa limosa, Roller and Semicollared Flycatcher
Ficedula semitorquata) Near reatened (NT) at the
global level (IUCN 2011). We have considered the Lesser
Kestrel as Least Concern (LC) according to the latest
assessment of its status (BirdLife International
2011).
Figure 2: The relief, main waterbodies and settlements in Macedonia (from ESRI Data & Maps for ArcView 9.1.)
Slika 2: Relief, glavna vodna telesa in naselja v Makedoniji (po ESRI Data & Maps for ArcView 9.1.)
Legend / Legenda
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
186
2. Study area and methods
2.1. Study area
Macedonia is small, land-locked country in the centre
of the Balkan Peninsula, covering 25,713 km2 (ca.
0.25% of the European territory). e country can be
roughly divided into the western mountainous region
(Šar-Pindus Mountain Range, total of 141 peaks
higher than 2,000 m a.s.l.), central lowland region
(mostly the Vardar River Valley, 80–300 m a.s.l.,
Pelagonia Plain, 650 m a.s.l., Ovče Pole Plain, 350
m a.s.l.), and eastern mountain (Rhodopean) region
(only three peaks above 2,000 m altitude). Large
mountainous regions are also found in the central
part of the country (20 peaks above 2,000 m altitude)
and in the southern parts (12 peaks above 2,000 m
altitude), with ridges forming part of the borderline
with Greece. Most of the country surface (44.1%)
ranges at altitudes between 500–1,000 m a.s.l. (State
Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia
2011) (Figure 2).
Two large tectonic lakes, Ohrid (shared with
Albania) and Prespa (shared with Albania and Greece),
dene the SW corner of the country, while the third
natural lake (Lake Dojran) is located in the SE corner,
on the borderline with Greece. e longest river is
the Vardar (301 km), its longest left tributary the
Bregalnica (225 km), and the longest right tributary
the Crna Reka (207 km) (Ga�evski 1978).
In 2010, forests occupied 36.9% of the territory
(broadleaved forests being dominant with 21.4%,
while mixed forests comprise 12.3% and conifer forests
only 3.3%), 19.8% were cultivated land and 23.8%
pastures (State Statistical Office of the Republic
of Macedonia 2011) (Figure 3). Large portions in
the central part of the country are of steppe-like
character. e climate is sub-Mediterranean in the
southern lowland parts (average annual temperatures
13.8–14.5 oC), continental throughout most of the
country and mountainous above roughly 1,500 m a.s.l.
altitude (with annual averages from –0.6 to 8.7 oC).
e average annual precipitation is 742 mm, ranging
from 471 mm at Ovče Pole Plain (Central Macedonia)
Figure 3: Main land use types, according to the CORINE Land Cover mapping, Level 1 (2006)
Slika 3: Glavni tipi rabe tal po CORINE Land Cover mapping, Level 1 (2006)
Legend / Legenda
Articial surfaces / Zgrajene površine
Agricultural areas / Kmetijske površine
Forest and semi natural areas / Gozdne
in deloma ohranjene naravne površine
Wetlands / Močvirnate površine
Water bodies / Vodne površine
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
187
to 1,096 mm at Mt Šar Planina (NW Macedonia)
(Lazarevski 1993, State Statistical Office of the
Republic of Macedonia 2011). Human population
was 2,022,547 in 2002, with average density of
78.7 people/km2 mostly concentrated in the urban
centres (25% in the capital Skopje). Currently, the
population is employed mainly in industry and trade
(41.5%), while agriculture, forestry and hunting
jointly contribute to the employment rate with only
3% (State Statistical Office of the Republic of
Macedonia 2011). However, agriculture as a secondary
profession is common in rural centres.
2.2. Data collection
Several dierent surveys and conservation projects
have resulted in numerous precise distribution data
and quantitative estimations for many species, that
were used at identication of the IBAs in Macedonia.
e present proposal is based on data mostly gathered
in the 2002–2011 period, but where necessary, older
information was used in order to ll in some gaps in
our knowledge.
Data on mountain IBAs were collected during the
research camps organised by the Biology Students'
Table 2: Criteria for the selection of Important Bird Areas of global and European importance (after He a t H & ev a n s 2000).
Criteria denoted in bold were used for sites selection in Macedonia.
Tabela 2: Kriteriji za izbor IBA-jev globalnega in evropskega pomena (po He a t H & ev a n s 2000). Kriteriji v mastnem tisku so bili
uporabljeni za izbor obmo~ij v Makedoniji.
Category / Kategorija Criteria / Kriterij
A criteria – Important Bird Areas of global importance
A1. Species of global
conservation concern The site regularly holds significant numbers of a globally threatened species, or
other species of global conservation concern.
A2. Restricted-range species The site is known or thought to hold a significant component of the restricted-
range species whose breeding distributions define an Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
or Secondary Area (SA).
A3. Biome-restricted species The site is known or thought to hold a significant assemblage of the species
whose distributions are largely or wholly confined to one biome.
A4. Congregations i) The site is known or thought to hold, on a regular basis, ≥ 1% of a
biogeographic population of a congregatory waterbird species.
ii) The site is known or thought to hold, on a regular basis, ≥ 1% of the
global population of a congregatory seabird or terrestrial species.
iii) The site is known or thought to hold, on a regular basis, ≥ 20,000
waterbirds or ≥ 10,000 pairs of seabirds of one or more species.
iv) The site is known or thought to be a bottleneck site where at least 20,000
storks (Ciconiidae), raptors (Accipitriformes & Falconiformes) or cranes
(Gruidae) regularly pass during spring or autumn migration.
B criteria – Important Bird Areas of European importance
B1. Congregations i) The site is known or thought to hold ≥ 1% of a flyway or other distinct
population of a waterbird species.
ii) The site is known or thought to hold ≥ 1% of a distinct population of a
seabird species.
iii) The site is known or thought to hold ≥ 1% of a flyway or other distinct
population of other congregatory species.
iv) The site is a ‘bottleneck’ site where over 5,000 storks, or over 3,000 raptors or
cranes regularly pass on spring or autumn migration.
B2. Species with an
unfavourable conservation
status in Europe
The site is one of the ‘n’ most important in the country for a species with an
unfavourable conservation status in Europe (SPEC 2 & 3) and for which the
site-protection approach is thought to be appropriate.
B3. Species with a favourable
conservation status in Europe The site is one of the ‘n’ most important in the country for a species with
a favourable conservation status in Europe but concentrated in Europe
(non-SPECE*) and for which the site-protection approach is thought to be
appropriate.
* Formerly referred to as SPEC 4 species but renamed to non-SPECE in BirdLife International (2004)
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
188
Research Society, particularly for Šar Planina (1995–
1998; Kajevska et al. 1996, Velevski et al. 2002a), Mt
Bistra (Velevski et al. 2003b), Pelister (Velevski et al.
2003a), Jakupica (1997–1999; Velevski et al. 2002b, and
in 2010 during the preparation of the Multipurpose
Protected Area »Jasen« management plan by UNDP –
United Nations Development Program and Exploring
Society »Ursus speleos« from Skopje). Results from the
inventory for the needs of the National Park »Mavrovo«
management plan prepared by Oxfam Italia (Micevski
2010) have also been considered. Still unpublished
data for other high-mountain regions gathered by M.
Velevski in the 2002–2009 period during the projects
implemented by the Biology Students' Research
Society and the Macedonian Ecological Society were
also available for the mountains of Korab, Jablanica,
Kožuf, Nidže and Osogovo.
Census of the Lesser Kestrel population in Pelagonia
in 2002 (B. Štumberger & M. Velevski unpubl.)
resulted with estimation of the population of not only
this species, but also of the White Stork (Štumberger
& Velevski 2002), Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus,
Jackdaw Corvus monedula and Roller. At the same
time, a survey of the Lesser Kestrel colonies took place
in other parts of Macedonia (Lisichanets et al. 2004).
With the start of the Vulture Conservation Project in
Macedonia in 2003, implemented by the Macedonian
Ecological Society and Aquila Nature Conservation
Association (formerly Fund for Wild Flora and
Fauna Macedonia), precise data were gathered on
Table 3: Species of global conservation concern, registered in Macedonia until 2011 with statuses and thresholds given.
Denoted in bold are species for which identification of Important Bird Areas was considered possible under the A1 criterion.
Tabela 3: Vrste globalne varstvene pozornosti, zabeležene v Makedoniji do leta 2011, z njihovim statusom in populacijskimi
pragovi. Z mastnim tiskom so ozna~ene vrste, za katere je bila opredelitev IBA ocenjena kot mogo~a v okviru kriterija A1.
Species / Vrsta
IUCN 2011 Red
List Category/
Kategorija Rdečega
seznama
Status in Macedonia/
Status v Makedoniji Threshold/
Populacijski prag
Pelecanus crispus VU Resident, not breeding 30 ind.
Anser erythropus* VU Vagrant? 15 ind.
Branta ruficollis EN Vagrant Regular presence
Marmaronetta angustirostris VU Extinct 15 ind.
Aythya nyroca NT Resident, breeding 20 pairs
Oxyura leucocephala EN Vagrant Regular presence
Milvus milvus NT Vagrant 30 ind.
Neophron percnopterus EN Migratory, breeding Regular presence
Aegypius monachus NT Extinct 5 pairs
Circus macrourus NT Vagrant 30 ind.
Aquila clanga VU Vagrant 6 ind.
Aquila heliaca VU Resident, breeding 2 pairs
Falco vespertinus NT Migratory, possible breeding 30 ind.
Falco cherrug VU Probable breeding 2 pairs
Tetrax tetrax NT Extinct? 60 ind.
Otis tarda VU Vagrant? 30 ind.
Gallinago media NT Vagrant? 60 ind.
Limosa limosa NT Migratory 60 ind.
Numenius tenuirostris* CR Vagrant? 1 ind.
Numenius arquata NT Migratory 60 ind.
Coracias garrulus NT Migratory, breeding 10 pairs
Acrocephalus paludicola VU Vagrant? 30 ind.
Ficedula semitorquata NT Migratory, breeding 20 pairs
* Species given as “possibly to be found in Macedonia as it has been found in neighbouring regions” in Matvejev & Vasi} (1973) and as such transferred in the
latest checklist (Micevski 2002/2003)
“?” denotes uncertain status of the species
IUCN Red List categories (only the following categories were applied): CR – Critically Endangered, E – Endangered, VU – Vulnerable, NT – Near
reatened
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
189
2.3. Criteria for IBA identification
Several criteria for the selection of IBAs have been
developed by BirdLife International (Heath & Evans
2000). According to them, the international importance
of sites can be categorized at dierent geographical
levels: global (A criterion), European (B criterion) and
European Union (C criterion, used for the selection of
sites under the EU Birds Directive not treated herein).
Criteria for the selection of sites of global and European
importance are summarized in Table 2.
e methodology for identication of the IBAs
presented in Heath & Evans (2000) was followed.
e latest assessment of the Red List category (IUCN
2011) was used for the selection of species of global
conservation concern. SPEC categories were after
BirdLife International (2004), together with
estimation of the European populations, except for
the Lesser Kestrel, Roller, Egyptian Vulture and Semi-
collared Flycatcher, where the data from the updated
species action plans were used (Iñigo et al. 2008,
Kovacs et al. 2008, Georgiev & Iankov 2010, Iñigo
& Barov 2010). e following criteria were used for
selection of IBAs in Macedonia:
(1) A criteria: Important Bird Areas of global
importance
For identication of the sites of global importance
under the criteria A1 and A3, lists of species potentially
fullling these criteria were developed (Tables 3 &
4), and only the species regularly occurring in the
country were taken into consideration.
Under the A1 criterion, sites holding sucient
numbers of globally threatened (IUCN Red List
categories CR, EN and VU) and Near reatened
(NT) species are selected. For Critically Endangered
(CR) and Endangered (EN) species, their regular
presence alone merits the site identication, while
others should meet corresponding thresholds (Table
3) and be regularly present at a site. resholds
were used after Heath & Evans (2000) updated
with information from BirdLife International (I.
Burfield pers. comm.).
Under the A3 criterion, representative sites,
holding rich assemblages of biome-restricted
species and reecting the distribution of biome
in the country are selected. Out of ve biomes
treated under this criterion in Europe, two occur
in Macedonia – the Eurasian high-montane biome
(with 10 characteristic bird species in Europe) and
Mediterranean biome (21 characteristic species).
e list of biome-restricted species occurring in
Macedonia is given in Table 4.
population sizes of the Egyptian and Grion Vultures
Gyps fulvus, but data of good quality were also gathered
for the Black Stork (Velevski et al. 2008), Lanner
Falcon Falco biarmicus (Gruba~ & Velevski 2010),
Short-toed Eagle (Velevski & Gruba~ 2008), Golden
Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard and Eagle Owl Bubo bubo.
e Imperial Eagle has also been partially covered with
these surveys, with the special survey and monitoring
of this species carried out by B. Hallmann, T. Lisičanec
and E. Lisičanec in the 2003–2008 period. In 2010 and
2011, the Macedonian Ecological Society implemented
mid-winter censuses at the three large lakes, Ohrid,
Prespa and Dojran, together with several smaller sites.
Hitherto no detailed surveys have been carried out for
passerines, therefore quantitative population estimates
for separate sites have rarely been possible.
e surveys carried out by a group of Czech
ornithologists (Škorpíková et al. 2006 & 2007) and
the detailed information made available by them to
the authors were of signicant value in improving
the estimation of populations and delineation of the
boundaries of some sites. Finally, a census of White
Stork was carried out in parts of Central and Eastern
Macedonia by H. Heckenroth and J.-U. Heins (e
Stork Foundation) during 2010 and 2011.
As a result of the information available, compared
to BirdLife International (2004), new national
estimations were provided for several species
(Appendix 1).
Table 4: Species in Macedonia occurring mostly or entirely
within a particular biome (biome-restricted species), for
which IBA identification was considered appropriate under A3
criterion
Tabela 4: Vrste v Makedoniji, ki se pojavljajo ve~inoma ali
v celoti znotraj dolo~enega bioma (na dolo~en biom vezane
vrste) in za katere je bila opredelitev IBA ocenjena kot
ustrezna v okviru kriterija A3
Biome / Biom Species / Vrsta
Eurasian high-montane Prunella collaris
Tichodroma muraria
Pyrrhocorax graculus
Montifringilla nivalis
Mediterranean Alectoris graeca
Oenanthe hispanica
Hippolais olivetorum
Sylvia cantillans
Sylvia melanocephala
Sitta neumayer
Lanius nubicus
Emberiza melanocephala
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
190
For category A4, the site must meet at least one
of the criteria given in Table 2. However, Birdlife
International now treats A4i as 1% of the total
global population (I. Burfield pers. comm.). We
have used data from the winter waterbird censuses
(Micevski 1991, Micevski 1996, Micevski &
Schneider 1997, Micevski 1998, Fremuth et
al. 2004, Wetlands International in litt.),
unpublished results of the Macedonian Ecological
Society from 2010 and 2011, and estimates of
their respective global populations (Wetlands
International 2006) for site identication under
the A4i criterion.
We have considered species qualifying under A4i
only if it has met 1% of its total global population
in at least one third of the mid-winter counts.
Total numbers of waterbirds registered during the
winter counts were used to test sites against A4iii
criterion (≥ 20,000 waterbirds on regular basis).
(2) B criteria: Important Bird Areas of European
importance
Several criteria for the identication of sites of
European importance were considered suitable for
Macedonia.
We have considered species qualifying under
Table 5: Population estimates of non-breeding congregatory waterbirds in Macedonia in the 1988–2011 period. Species
denoted in bold meet 1% threshold for criteria A4i and B1i on at least one site.
Tabela 5: Ocene populacij negnezde~ih vodnih ptic, ki se združujejo v jate, v Makedoniji v obdobju 1988–2011. Vrste,
prikazane v mastnem tisku, zadovoljujejo enoodstotni populacijski prag za kriterija A4i in B1i v vsaj enem obmo~ju.
Species/
Vrsta
Non-breeding
population MK
(ind.)/
Negnezdeča
popul. MK (os.)
Waterbird population/
Populacija vodnih ptic
Percentage of
population in
MK / Odstotek
populacije v
MK (%)
1%
treshold/
popul.
prag
min max min max
Gavia arctica 550 arctica < 0.1 < 0.1 3,750
Tachybaptus rucollis 100 900 rucollis < 0.1 0.2 4,000
Podiceps cristatus 400 5,700 Black Sea, Mediterranean 0.1 0.8 7,250
Podiceps nigricollis 100 5,700 Europe, N Africa < 0.1 2.7 2,200
Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis 100 1,200 Black Sea, Mediterranean < 0.1 0.3 4,000
Phalacrocorax pygmeus 20 3,500 SE Europe, Turkey < 0.1 5.0 700
Pelecanus onocrotalus* 200 550 Europe, W Asia 1.0 1 .7 270
Pelecanus crispus* 300 1,000 Black Sea, Mediterranean 6.0 20.8 45
Cygnus olor 10 160 Black Sea < 0.1 0.4 450
Anas penelope 65 940 Black Sea, Mediterranean < 0.1 0.3 3,000
Anas strepera 10 100 Central Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean < 0.1 0.1 1,100
Anas crecca 650 6,500 Black Sea, Mediterranean 0.1 0.6 10,600
Anas platyrhynchos 200 5,100 Black Sea, E Mediterranean < 0.1 0.3 20,000
Anas acuta 25 100 Black Sea, Mediterranean, W Africa < 0.1 < 0.1 7,50 0
Anas clypeata 15 100 Black Sea, Mediterranean, W Africa < 0.1 < 0.1 4,500
Netta runa 550 7,000 Black Sea, E Mediterranean 1.9 23 .7 320
Aythya ferina 300 10,500 Central Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean < 0.1 1.1 10,000
Aythya nyroca 510 E Europe, E Mediterranean, Black Sea < 0.1 < 0.1 450
Aythya fuligula 300 18,500 Central Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean < 0.1 2.6 7,000
Bucephala clangula 20 500 SE Europe, Adriatic < 0.1 0.3 2,000
Mergellus albellus 235 Black Sea, E Mediterranean < 0.1 0.1 350
Mergus merganser 222 Balkans 2.8 31.1 1
Fulica atra 20,000 81,000 Black Sea, Mediterranean 0.8 3.2 20,000
Larus ridibundus 100 1,600 E Europe < 0.1 0.1 13,000
Larus michahellis / cachinnans 20 1,400 michahellis / cachinnans < 0.1 0.2 20,000
Wintering populations, except * non-breeding population occurring in the reproductive period of the species. Waterbird population after Wetlands
International (2006).
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
191
Table 6: Species used for identification of Important Bird Areas under B2 and B3 criteria, with population estimates, percentage of European population in Macedonia, median of
population size in IBAs confirmed under the B2 & B3 criteria in the World Bird/Biodiversity Database (WBDB) and thresholds used in Macedonia given
Tabela 6: Vrste, uporabljene za opredelitev IBA-jev v okviru kriterijev B2 in B3, z ocenami njihovih populacij, odstotkom evropske populacije v Makedoniji, srednjo vrednostjo
velikosti populacije v IBA-jih, potrjenih v okviru kriterijev B2 in B3 v World Bird/Biodiversity Database (WBDB), in s populacijskimi pragovi, uporabljenimi v Makedoniji
Species / Vrsta SPEC
Population MK/
Populacija MK Population Europe/
Populacija Evropa
Percentage of
Europe population
in MK/
Odstotek evropske
populacije v MK
(%)
Max. No. of
sites under B2
& B3 / Največje
št. območij
v okviru B2
in B3
Median IBAs
Europe / Srednja
vrednost v
evropskih IBA-jih
(B2 & B3)
B2 & B3
thresholds
for MK/
Populacijski
prag za MK
min max min max min max
Falco naumanni 11,500 2 ,500 29,900 34,500 6.0 10 95 100 20
Aquila heliaca 130 40 850 1,400 3.2 5 3 4 2
Phalacrocorax pygmeus 160 120 28,000 39,000 0.4 580 110 30
Aythya nyroca 120 40 12,000 18,000 < 0.1 5 25 40 10
Crex crex 150 150 1,300,000 2,000,000 < 0.1 5 40 50 20
Alectoris graeca 22,000 5,000 40,000 78,000 5.7 10 60 100 50
Accipiter brevipes 240 100 3,200 7,700 1.3 5 8 12 3
Lanius nubicus 2300 500 35,000 100,000 0.7 510 20 10
Ciconia ciconia 2650 800 180,000 220,000 0.4 580 110 30
Coracias garrulus 2200 400 55,000 117,000 0.4 520 35 10
Ciconia nigra 235 45 7,800 12,000 0.4 510 10 3
Lanius minor 22,000 5,000 620,000 1,500,000 0.3 530 60 30
Falco biarmicus 325 35 480 900 4 .5 5 1 3 1–2
Circaetus gallicus 3120 150 8,400 13,000 1.3 510 14 3
Monticola saxatilis 3 1,000 2,500 100,000 320,000 0,9 5 25 40 30
Buteo runus 380 120 8,70 0 15,000 0.9 5 8 10 4
Aquila chrysaetos 360 100 8,400 11,000 0.8 5 7 8 3
Neophron percnopterus 328 32 3,300 5,050 0.7 5 5 5 3
Bubo bubo 3100 300 19,000 38,000 0.6 510 15 4
Burhinus oedicnemus 3200 400 46,000 78,000 0.5 550 100 20
Monticola solitarius 3400 1,000 120,000 260,000 0.4 515 30 20
Ixobrychus minutus 3200 300 60,000 120,000 0.3 550 70 20
Riparia riparia 31,000 5,000 5,400,000 9,500,000 < 0.1 5 10,000 10,000 1,000
Sternula albifrons 320 50 35,000 55,000 < 0.1 5 70 120 20
Circus pygargus non-SPECE100 140 35,000 65,000 0.2 520 45 20
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
192
B1i only if it has met 1% threshold for the
individual waterbird yway population (Wetlands
International 2006) in at least one third of the
mid-winter counts (Table 5).
For identication of the sites that meet B2 and
B3 criteria, the following steps were followed for
selection of the triggering species:
to have unfavourable conservation status in
Europe (SPEC 1, 2 & 3) – B2, or favourable
conservation status, but with more than 50% of
their global range lying in Europe (non-SPECE)
B3 (BL I );
a site protection approach is thought to be
appropriate in Macedonia;
to have national population of at least 0.5%
of the European population or it was possible
to identify IBAs according to H  E
() who state, “Also, for countries which
hold less than 1% of the European population of
a given species, or for countries which comprise
less than 1% of the total land area of Europe
(i.e. less than ca. 100,000 km2), sites may still
be selected under this criterion if they support
similar numbers of the species as sites in other
countries, which meet this criterion in a standard
fashion”. Instead of minimal populations, we
applied geometric means of the estimations due
to low quality of the estimation data provided in
BL I (). A threshold
of 1% of the national population size was used
to identify the most important sites for these
species, but for species the minimal population
size of which has been estimated at under or
close to 100 pairs, like Levant Sparrowhawk
Accipiter brevipes, Black Stork, Lanner Falcon,
Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard and
Eagle Owl, direct recommendations from
BirdLife International, based on the data
from already conrmed IBAs in the World
Bird/Biodiversity Database (WBDB), were
followed (I. B pers. comm.). For species
where national population was up to 5% of
European population, maximum of ve IBAs
were proposed, while for species where national
population was 5–10% of European population,
10 IBAs at the most were proposed. Species
used for identication of IBAs under these
criteria are given in Table 6. Full list of species
considered under B2 and B3 criteria is given in
Appendix 1.
2.4. Other important bird species
Species of global conservation concern found with
populations not sucient to meet A1 criterion, SPEC
2 and SPEC 3 species that have populations that would
otherwise meet B2 criterion, but for which maximal
number of sites (5 or 10) has already been proposed, or
do not meet the threshold set, but are still considered
to be of national importance for conservation due to
their small populations or negative population trends
have been identied as ‘other important species’
and are also presented in the site overviews. Also,
species with signicant percentages of their national
populations (roughly > 50%) found at only a few sites
were included in this group.
2.5. Boundaries, land cover and threats
For delineation of the boundaries, ArcView 9.1
(ESRI 2005) was used. All known nesting locations of
solitary pairs and colonies of the triggering species,
with number of pairs in colonies were overlaid on
1 : 25,000 scale topographic maps used as background
layer. Boundaries were drawn to include breeding sites,
foraging areas, and, for Imperial Eagle and Egyptian
Vulture only, former breeding sites (back to 1991)
as much as possible and reasonable. Also, habitat
requirements of the triggering species, land-use and
management needs were considered. All boundaries
were drawn following natural distinct features (ridges,
valleys, roads), or, where this was impossible, isohypses
were followed. e chapters “Site description” (see
3.2. Overview of sites) include descriptions of the
borders in a manner that they can be easily identied
on topographic 1 : 25,000 scale maps. Geographical
and geological characteristics are presented, after
Kol~akovski (2004 & 2008).
Nadaljevanje tabele 6 / continuation of Table 6
Population estimates refer to breeding pairs after BirdLife International (2004), except Falco naumanni, Coracias garrulus, Neophron percnopterus and
Ficedula semitorquata, where data from the action plans were used (Iñigo et al. 2008, Kovacs et al. 2008, Georgiev & Iankov 2010, Iñigo & Barov 2010)
SPEC – species of European conservation concern (SPEC 1 – European species of global conservation concern in Europe, i.e. classified as Critically Endangered,
Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened or Data Deficient under the IUCN Red List Criteria at a global level; SPEC 2 – species whose global populations are
concentrated in Europe, and which have an Unfavourable conservation status in Europe; SPEC 3 – species whose global populations are not concentrated in
Europe, but which have an Unfavourable conservation status in Europe; non-SPECE – species whose global populations are concentrated in Europe but which
have a Favourable conservation status in Europe) (BirdLife International 2004)
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
193
Using data from CORINE Land Cover (EEA 2006),
the percentage of land cover types according to the
CORINE Land Cover, Level 3 was calculated for each
site. However, only land cover types exceeding 5% of
the total surface area of the site are presented in the
tables, others being merged under the label “Others”.
e exceptions are small-scale land cover types of
particular importance for the triggering species. e
overall classication of the major CORINE land
cover types found within IBA boundaries is given in
Appendix 2.
reats were identied on the basis of threat list
provided in the national Emerald Database (see
Appendix 3). To quantify the importance of threats with
regard to their actual or potential impact, the scoring
method after H  E () was used:
(1) Eect of threat on the habitat (for habitat-
related threats)
destruction 3
– rapid deterioration 2
– slow deterioration (scores) 1
(1) Expected/measured eect on threatened
species (for bird-related threats)
– majority of critical species are aected 3
– some critical species are aected 2
– only non-critical species are aected 1
(2) Spatial scale of the threat in relation
to the IBA
– aects the IBA as a whole 3
– aects a large part of the IBA but not
critical sites for threatened species or a
relatively small part of the IBA, which
is important for threatened species 2
– aects a relatively small part of the IBA
with no crucial site for threatened species 1
(3) Realization of the threat
– threat already exists 3
– threat is planned with realization
expected in short term 2
– threat is planned with realization
expected in longer term 1
Figure 4: Map of the IBAs identified in Macedonia
Slika 4: Zemljevid IBA-jev, opredeljenih v Makedoniji
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
194
e combined level of the threat is calculated by
summing up the values (1), (2) and (3). reats can be
classied into three groups according to the magnitude
of the impact: high impact (scores 8 and 9), medium
impact (scores 6 and 7) and low impact (scores 3, 4
and 5). Detailed calculation of threat scores is given
in Appendix 4.
2.6. Data presentation
Species data are presented in tables. e rst column
delineates the species’ Latin name, while the second
column presents the information on the status of
species and season in which species meets IBA criteria
after Heath & Evans (2000) (R = breeding resident,
B = breeding visitor, W = wintering visitor, P = passage
visitor, N = non-breeding visitor, and U = unknown).
In the column “Year”, the year of population
estimation is given. When period is given, it is related
to species population size change or uctuation in the
given period. Under “Population”, estimation of the
population size in pairs (unless stated in individuals)
is given. In some cases, where no sucient data existed
to estimate the population size, qualitative abundance
estimates according to Heath & Evans (2000)
have been presented (“abundant” = encountered in
large numbers in preferred habitat, “common =
encountered singly or in small numbers in preferred
habitat, “frequent” = often, but not always, met in
the preferred habitat, “uncommon” = encountered
sporadically in preferred habitat, “rare” = rarely seen,
usually less than 10 records, and “unknown” = not
possible to assess abundance). Quality of the estimation
is presented in the column “Acc.” (Accuracy), where A
= reliable, B = incomplete, C = poor (after Heath &
Evans 2000). No data quality is given if population
gures are not available. In the last column “Criteria”,
one or more criteria that the species meet at a
particular site are given, with “?” indicating that the
species probably meets the given criterion, but further
research is needed to justify it. In the same column,
“N” is used when a population is considered to be of
Table 7: List of IBAs identified in Macedonia with criteria used.
Tabela 7: Seznam IBA-jev, opredeljenih v Makedoniji z uporabljenimi kriteriji
IBA code/
IBA koda Site name (Macedonian)/
Ime območja (makedonsko) Site name (English)/
Ime območja (angleško) IBA Criteria/
IBA kriteriji
MK001 Šar Planina Šar Planina Mountain A3, B2
MK002 Sliv na reka Radika Radika River Catchment A3, B2
MK005 Ohridsko Ezero Lake Ohrid A4iii, B1i, B2
MK006 Prespansko Ezero Lake Prespa A1, A4i, B1i, B2
MK008 Demirkapiska Klisura Demir Kapija Gorge A1, A3, B2
MK010 Dojransko Ezero Lake Dojran A1, A4i, B1i, B2
MK012 Dolina na Zletovska Reka Zletovska River Valley A1, B2
MK013 Tikveški region Tikveš Region A1, B2
MK014 Reka Pčinja - reka Petrošnica - Kriva Reka Pčinja - Petrošnica - Kriva Reka Rivers A1, A3, B2
MK015 Preod - Gjugjance Preod - Gjugjance A1, B2
MK016 Osogovski Planini Osogovo Mountains A1, B2
MK017 Jakupica Jakupica Mountain A3, B2
MK018 Taorska Klisura Taor Gorge A1, A3
MK019 Ovče Pole Ovče Pole A1, B2
MK020 Reka Topolka - reka Babuna - reka Bregalnica Topolka - Babuna - Bregalnica Rivers A1, A3, B2
MK021 Gradsko - Rosoman - Negotino Gradsko - Rosoman - Negotino A1, A3, B2
MK022 Mantovsko Ezero i reka Kriva Lakavica Lake Mantovo and Kriva Lakavica River A1, B2
MK023 Dolina na reka Raec Raec River Valley A1, A3, B2
MK024 Pelagonija Pelagonia A1, A4ii, B1iii, B2, B3
MK025 Mariovo Mariovo A1, A3, B2
MK026 Tikveško Ezero Lake Tikveš A1, A3, B2
MK027 Bošavija Bošavija A1
MK028 Kočanski orizovi polinja Kočani Rice Fields B2
MK029 Dolen tek na reka Vardar Lower Vardar B2
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
195
national importance. Species meeting at least one IBA
criterion on given site are denoted in bold.
3. Results
3.1. Sites
e new IBA proposal lists 24 sites (Table 7, Figure
4), covering 6,907.35 km2 or 26.9% of the territory
of Macedonia (Table 7). With the exception of the
mountain ranges in the NE and central parts of
Macedonia, and Lakes Ohrid and Prespa, sites are
distributed mostly in the central lowland parts of the
country (Pčinja-Vardar Valleys and Pelagonia Plain).
e size of separate IBAs ranges from 25 km2 (Taor
Gorge) to 1,136 km2 (Pelagonia), with relative coverage
of the country between 0.1 and 4.4%. e number of
triggering species per site ranges from one (Bošavija,
Kočani Rice Fields) to 17 (Pčinja - Petrošnica - Kriva
Reka Rivers). Some of these localities are partially or
entirely under protection of the national legislation
(Ohrid Lake, Prespa Lake, Dojran Lake, Tikveš Lake,
Demir Kapija and Radika River Catchment), while
others are partially or entirely included in the national
Emerald Network (Osogovo Mt, Topolka - Babuna
- Bregalnica Rivers, Taor Gorge, Jakupica Mt, Šar
Planina Mt, Ovče Pole, Pelagonia and Mariovo). Non-
irrigated arable land and transitional woodland-shrub
are dominant land-cover types, covering 1,171.5
km2 (17 sites), and 1,017 km2 (23 sites) in total,
respectively. e total coverage of agricultural areas is
3,282 km2 (47.5%) of IBAs.
3.2. Overview of the sites
3.2.1. Šar Planina Mountain
General information
Name in English: Šar Planina Mountain
Name in Macedonian: Šar Planina (Шар Планина)
IBA code: MK001
Criteria: A3, B2
Area: 43,418 ha
Central coordinates: 20o49’18.96”E, 41o57’11.34”N
Altitude: 640–2,748 m a.s.l.
Administrative region(s): Tearce, Tetovo, Bogovinje,
Vrapčište, Gostivar, Rostuše-Mavrovo
Site description
e site occupies southern and central parts of Šar
Planina Mt, which is one of the largest mountains
in Macedonia, situated in its NW corner, and whose
ridge forms the borderline with Kosovo. e lower
boundary of the site runs at ca. 1,200 m a.s.l, but at
places descends to as low as 640 m a.s.l. To the south,
the boundary follows the Ćafa e Kadis and Ađina
Reka Rivers and the ridge between the peaks of Lera
(2,194 m a.s.l.), Morava (2,147 m a.s.l.) and Mala
Planina (1,798 m a.s.l.). To the NW, it reaches the
peak of Peskovi (2,651 m a.s.l.) and the Bistrica River
Valley, leaving ca. 12 km of the mountain ridge (not
of high importance for the conservation of triggering
species) outside the site. Compared to the boundaries
from 1989 (site YU048, Grimmett & Jones 1989)
and 2000 (site MK001, Heath & Evans 2000), the
site coverage has expanded almost three times. e
site adjoins the IBA “Šar-planina” (RS035) in Kosovo,
Puzovi} et al. (2009).
Mountainous relief dominates, with the highest parts
of the mountain (Titov Vrv 2,748 m a.s.l., Mal Turčin
2,702 m a.s.l., Kobilica 2,528 m a.s.l. etc.) well above
2,500 m altitude. Quite characteristic is the Pena River
Figure 5: Map of the IBA Šar Planina Mountain with its main
features depicted
Slika 5: Zemljevid IBA Šar Planina z glavnimi zna~ilnostmi
obmo~ja
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
196
Valley with the clis at the locality called Lešnica. Other
larger river valleys are Jelovjanska Reka, Mazdrača and
(Tearska) Bistrica. Geologically dominant are Paleozoic
metamorphic clis with carbonates. Pleistocene glacial
relief is present in the highest parts. Most of the glacial
lakes on Šar Planina Mt are within the boundaries of
the site, among which is also Lake Bogovinsko, the
largest glacial lake in Macedonia (Figure 5).
Species
e list for the entire mountain totals ca. 130 species
(Melovski et al. 2010), which indicates that the area
has not been studied thoroughly. e site is one of the
ve most important sites for the Golden Eagle (3–4
Table 8: List of triggering and other important bird species in the IBA Šar Planina Mountain
Tabela 8: Seznam kvalifikacijskih in drugih pomembnih vrst ptic v IBA Šar planina
Species/
Vrsta Season/
Sezona Year/
Leto Population/
Populacija Acc./
Zan. Criteria/
Kriteriji
Prunella collaris B2004 20–40 CA3
Tichodroma muraria B2004 5–10 CA3
Pyrrhocorax graculus B2005 100–200 CA3
Montifringilla nivalis B2004 10–30 CA3
Aquila chrysaetos R2003 3–4 BB2
Alectoris graeca R2009 50–150 CB2
Crex crex B2010 20–50 CB2
Bubo bubo R2007 5–10 CB2
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax B Common B2?
Gyps fulvus N2009 1–10 ind. C N
Falco peregrinus R2009 2–5 C N
Eremophila alpestris balcanica B Common N
Table 9: The main CORINE land cover types (Level 3) in the
IBA Šar Planina Mountain
Tabela 9: Glavni tipi pokrovnosti in rabe tal (po CORINE land
cover, 3. nivo) v IBA Šar planina
Code/
Koda CORINE land cover type/
tip pokrovnosti in rabe tal Coverage/
Pokrovnost (%)
311 Broad-leaved forest 24.2
321 Natural grasslands 56.1
322 Moors and heathland 4.3
324 Transitional woodland-shrub 7.9
Other 7.5
Table 10: The main threats to birds and their importance in the IBA Šar Planina Mountain
Tabela 10: Najpomembnej{i dejavniki ogrožanja ptic in njihov vpliv v IBA Šar planina
Code/
Koda Threat/
Dejavnik ogrožanja Threat impact/
Vpliv Most affected species/
Najbolj prizadete vrste
141 Abandonment of pastoral systems high G. fulvus, P. graculus
160 General forestry management high forest species
960 Interspecific faunal relations high A. chrysaetos, B. bubo, G. fulvus
230 Hunting medium A. graeca
243 Trapping, poisoning, poaching medium A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
501 Paths, tracks, cycling tracks medium A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
530 Improved access to site medium A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
167 Forest exploitation without replanting medium B. bubo
624 Mountaineering, rock climbing, speleology medium A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
600 Sport and leisure structures low A. chrysaetos, B. bubo
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
197
pairs) and Eagle Owl (5–10 pairs) in the country, but
the main reason for its designation is the presence
of the country’s largest populations of four species
characteristic of the Eurasian high-montane biome.
One pair of Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus had also
bred there until 1981 (Gruba~ 1990). Historical
breeding records of Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus also
exist (Matvejev 1957), but it has not been conrmed
since that period, although good habitats oer
possibilities for its survival and, furthermore, the species
was registered on the northern slopes of the mountain
(Puzovi} et al. 2009). Until 1990s, non-breeding
Grion Vultures had also been frequent (Gruba~
1997), but their number have signicantly decreased
in the last several years. Other species that are limited
to the alpine biome in the Balkan Peninsula and have
important national populations on Šar Planina Mt
are the Red-billed Chough (50–100 pairs in 1980s,
B. Gruba~ unpubl., but have probably declined since
then) and Shore Lark (Table 8).
Habitats and land use
Large parts of the site are situated above 1,600 m
altitude, dominated by pastures on silicate and calcareous
bedrocks, as well as heathland with bilberry Vaccinium
spp. and Common Juniper Juniperus communis. Both
silicate and calcareous clis are present, especially in
the central part of the mountain (the complex Lešnica
in the Pena River Valley). Moorlands are also found
around the spring areas of almost all larger rivers (Table
9). Broad-lived forests are dominated by Beech Fagus
sylvatica, on some places mixed with Bulgarian Fir Abies
borisii-regis. Conifer forests are dominated by the latter,
although Spruce Picea abies and Molika Pine Pinus
peuce are also present. Around the villages, the natural
vegetation is strongly modied. Principal activities are
livestock breeding and forestry (Figure 6).
reats
Poaching of all game species, possibly including birds
of prey, regularly takes place. e area has been in
the centre of the armed conict from 2001, and it is
estimated that large numbers of illegally held weapons
are present in the region, resulting in widespread
poaching, most likely including important bird species
and their prey base. Both commercial and illegal
logging takes place. Reduction of livestock numbers,
especially sheep, has likely inuenced the population
of the Choughs and vultures. e mountain is a
popular mountaineering destination. Construction of
new roads and hotels is also planned (Table 10).
Conservation
e westernmost part of the site falls within the
boundaries of Mavrovo National Park. A small
protected area (Popova Šapka) lies in the central part
of the mountain. Establishment of a new national
park, “Šar Planina Mt”, is planned, which will entirely
cover the rest of the site. e region is also an Emerald
Site (MK0000008).
Figure 6: Characteristic landscape of the IBA Šar Planina Mountain (photo: Lj. Melovski)
Slika 6: Zna~ilna krajina IBA Šar planina (foto: Lj. Melovski)
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
198
Site description
e site adjoins Šar Planina Mt (MK001) to the SW,
while its western boundary follows the national border
with Albania in NW Macedonia. e boundary to the
south passes under the village of Skudrinje, follows
the Mala Reka and Garska Reka Rivers to the locality
known as Jama, where it turns north, following the
ridges of Dumovica (2,023 m a.s.l.), Pašinica (1,890
m a.s.l.), Ahmetovica (1,901 m a.s.l.), Mali Šar (1,993
m a.s.l.), Aramiski Kamen (1,700 m a.s.l.), Dejanovec
(1,622 m a.s.l.) and Vlainica (1,304 m a.s.l.), from
where it turns west and, after passing Bunec, reaches
Mala Planina. It occupies small parts of Šar Planina
Mt, almost entire Mt Korab and a signicant part
of Mt Bistra, including Mavrovo Reservoir. e site
Table 12: The main CORINE land cover types (Level 3) in
the IBA Radika River Catchment
Tabela 12: Glavni tipi pokrovnosti in rabe tal (po CORINE
land cover, 3. nivo) v IBA Povodje reke Radike
Code/
Koda CORINE land cover type/
tip pokrovnosti in rabe tal Coverage/
Pokrovnost (%)
311 Broad-leaved forest 42.0
321 Natural grasslands 34.5
322 Moors and heathland 5.1
324 Transitional woodland-shrub 8.7
Other 9.7
was formerly named “Korab Mt and Radika Gorge”
(Heath & Evans 2000). Only minor corrections to
the former site’s boundaries have been made, in order
to follow the natural features and/or boundaries of
Mavrovo National Park.
e site characterizes a complex relief structure,
with high mountains, deep river valleys and gorges.
e highest mountain in Macedonia – Korab –
is located here (summit Golem Korab 2,764 m
a.s.l.). e geological composition is diverse, with
formations from dierent periods. Also characteristic
is the limestone on Mt Bistra. e site’s main water
bodies are the Radika River and Mavrovo reservoir
(Figure 7).
3.2.2. Radika River Catchment
General information
Name in English: Radika River Catchment
Name in Macedonian: Sliv na reka Radika
(Слив на река Радика)
IBA code: MK002
Criteria: A3, B2
Area: 70,392 ha
Central coordinates: 20o39’53.95”E, 41o40’47.09”N
Altitude: 610–2,764 m a.s.l.
Administrative region(s): Gostivar, Rostuše-Mavrovo,
Debar, Drugovo, Zajas
Table 11: List of triggering and other important bird species in the IBA Radika River Catchment
Tabela 11: Seznam kvalifikacijskih in drugih pomembnih vrst ptic v IBA Povodje reke Radike
Species/
Vrsta Season/
Sezona Year/
Leto Population/
Populacija Acc./
Zan. Criteria/
Kriteriji
Prunella collaris B2002 10 50 C A3
Tichodroma muraria B2002 10–20 C A3
Pyrrhocorax graculus B2005 100–200 C A3
Montifringilla nivalis B1998 10–30 C A3
Aquila chrysaetos R2008 4–6 B B2
Crex crex B2010 30–100 C B2
Bubo bubo R2008 8–15 C B2
Monticola saxatilis B2002–2010 30–100 C B2
Falco tinnunculus R Common B2?
Gyps fulvus N2006 5–10 ind. C N
Eremophila alpestris balcanica B Common N
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax B Frequent N
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
199
Figure 7: Map of the IBA Radika River Catchment with its
main features depicted
Slika 7: Zemljevid IBA Povodje reke Radike z glavnimi
zna~ilnostmi obmo~ja
Species
Biogeographically and ecologically, the site is
almost identical to Šar Planina Mt, thus boasting
almost identical bird community composition and
ornithological importance. e list of registered bird
species amounts to over 140 species (Velevski et al.
2003a, Micevski 2010). Triggering species are the
Golden Eagle (4–6 pairs) and Eagle Owl (8–15 pairs),
but populations of the four species characteristic of
the Eurasian high-montane biome, occurring mostly
in the highest parts of Mt Korab above 2,200 m a.s.l.
are also relatively large. e site holds internationally
important populations of Rock Partridge and Rock
rush, while Common Kestrel, Red-billed Chough
and Shore Lark are probably also present with
important populations. Non-breeding Grion Vultures
used to have important roosting site here, numbering
up to 60 individuals in the 1990s (Gruba~ 1997), but
are now seen only sporadically (Table 11). e Black
Vulture Aegypius monachus and Lammergeier Gypaetus
barbatus have also been known to occur here (Gruba~
1998 & 2002).
Habitats and land use
Broad-leaved forests are dominated by oaks (several
species and communities) and Beech Fagus sylvatica.
Very often, mixed Beech and Bulgarian Fir Abies
borisii-regis forests are found, as well as mixed oak and
r forests in some places. Fir forests form pure stands. A
smaller pure stand of Spruce Picea abies is also present.
High-montane grasslands used as summer pastures
for livestock and heathlands are the second dominant
habitat type here (Table 12), but general landscape is
formed by steep limestone clis (Figure 8).
Threats
Although protected as a national park, poaching is
common in the border regions, and probably had direct
and indirect impacts on raptors (direct persecution,
Table 13: The main threats to birds and their importance in the IBA Radika River Catchment
Tabela 13: Najpomembnej{i dejavniki ogrožanja ptic in njihov vpliv v IBA Povodje reke Radike
Code/
Koda Threat/
Dejavnik ogrožanja Threat impact/
Vpliv Most affected species/
Najbolj prizadete vrste
960 Interspecific faunal relations high A. chrysaetos, B. bubo, G. fulvus
141 Abandonment of pastoral systems medium P. graculus, G. fulvus
160 General forestry management medium forest species
243 Trapping, poisoning, poaching medium G. fulvus, A. chrysaetos
410 Industrial or commercial areas medium A. chrysaetos, P. graculus, P. collaris, M. nivalis
501 Paths, tracks, cycling tracks low A. chrysaetos
624 Mountaineering, rock climbing, speleology low A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
530 Improved access to site low A. chrysaetos, G. fulvus
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
200
prey base reduction, disturbance). Some 9,000
inhabitants live in the region, partially depending on
its natural resources, especially pastures and forests.
Decrease in the number of livestock, especially sheep,
has been signicant, probably having a negative
impact on vulture populations and Choughs. e
National Park management implements forest
management practices that should be improved to
maintain higher biodiversity. Construction of two
hydro-power plants with reservoirs and connected
water-supply channels meant to provide water from
streams as much as 18 km far is planned for near
future. One of them, “Boškov Most”, is located
on the site’s southern boundary, while the other,
“Lukovo Pole”, is in the core area, which no doubt
means that signicant deterioration can be expected.
In addition, at least six small hydro-power plants are
planned, some of them in highly sensitive regions
(Table 13).
Conservation
e entire site lies within the boundaries of Mavrovo
National Park, which has been also identied as an
Emerald Site (MK0000007). e rst management
plan of the Park is presently under development by the
Park’s management and Oxfam Italia (2009–2010).
Two very small protected areas (Dlabok Dol and
Garska Reka) are also located within this site.
3.2.3. Lake Ohrid
General information
Name in English: Lake Ohrid
Name in Macedonian: Ohridsko Ezero (Охридско Езеро)
IBA code: MK005
Criteria: A4iii, B1i, B2
Area: 24,736 ha
Central coordinates: 20o43’52.65”E, 41o03’36.88”N
Altitude: 695–900 m a.s.l.
Administrative region(s): Struga, Debarca, Ohrid
Site description
Situated in the SW of the country, this site includes
part of Lake Ohrid, following its shore line and the
national border with Albania, which runs across the
lake surface. e site is adjacent to the Albanian IBA
site “Lake Ohrid” (AL002, H  E ).
e shore line of the lake is polygenetic, with
limnogene shore (from lake sediments) situated in
the north. At Ljubaništa and St. Naum there is the
potamogene coast, while the western slopes of Mt
Galičica are of tectogene and abrasive origin, with
characteristic clis. e coastline is dominated by
Triassic limestones. e lake is tectonic, some 3 million
years old, with max. depth of 286 m (Figure 9).
Figure 8: Characteristic landscape of the IBA Radika River Catchment (photo: Lj. Melovski)
Slika 8: Zna~ilna krajina IBA Povodje reke Radike (foto: Lj. Melovski)
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
201
Species
e site’s bird fauna has been studied relatively well
(Micevski 2003), although precise quantitative
data and estimates for the breeding species are
missing. In total, 89 waterbird species have been
recorded, including the arable land and swamps
surrounding the lake (presently largely dried and of
little importance). Winter census data are available
for the periods 1987–1991, 1997–2000, 2002,
2010 and 2011 (Micevski 1996, Micevski 1998,
Fremuth et al. 2000, Wetlands International in
litt., MES unpubl.). e total number of wintering
waterbirds on the lake surface (Macedonian part
only) was between 79,000 individuals in 1989
(Wetlands International in litt.) and 24,000
individuals in 1997 (Fremuth et al. 2000), but only
about 10,000 and 17,000 were counted in 2010
and 2011, respectively (MES unpubl.). e most
numerous species is the Coot (as many as 60,000
ind. in 1989, but only 7,500 in 2010), followed
by the Pochard (500–7,000 ind., but only 150 and
300 in 2010 and 2011, respectively), Red-crested
Pochard (350–7,000 ind.), Tufted Duck (240–6,500
ind., but only 20 in 2010) and Black-necked Grebe
(130–3,600 ind.). ere was a substantial decrease in
numbers of the latter in the period after 1991, and the
threshold of 2,200 individuals has not been met again
after then. Triggering species for the breeding period
are the Pygmy Cormorant with some 50–100 pairs
breeding in 2000 (Micevski 2003), which has met
also the B1i criteria only in 1989 and 2002 (Micevski
1996, Wetlands International in litt.), and the
Goosander, which most probably bred there in 2006
(Škorpíko et al. 2006). e Great Crested Grebe is
Table 14: List of triggering and other important bird species in the IBA Lake Ohrid
Tabela 14: Seznam kvalifikacijskih in drugih pomembnih vrst ptic v IBA Ohridsko jezero
Species/
Vrsta Season/
Sezona Year/
Leto Population/
Populacija Acc./
Zan. Criteria/
Kriteriji
all waterbirds W 1987–2002 20,000–79,000 ind. A A4iii
Podiceps nigricollis W1988 –1991 2,600–3,600 ind. A B1i
Netta rufina W1987–2011 350–7,000 ind. A B1i
Fulica atra W1987–2011 13,000 60,000 ind. A B1i
Mergus merganser B2006 1–3 A B1i
Phalacrocorax pygmeus B2000 50–100 C B2
Podiceps cristatus W1991–2000 800–1,400 ind. A N
Podiceps cristatus B–2003 20–100 C N
Phalacrocorax pygmeus W1989–2002 1,100–3,250 ind. A N
Aythya ferina W1987–2000 500–7,000 ind. A N
Aythya fuligula W1989–1999 2406,500 ind. A N
Figure 9: Map of the IBA Lake Ohrid with its main features
depicted
Slika 9: Zemljevid IBA Ohridsko jezero z glavnimi
zna~ilnostmi obmo~ja
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
202
considered one of the most frequent breeding birds on
the Lake (Micevski 2003) (Table 14).
e northern shallow part of the lake is of the highest
importance for wintering waterbirds (Micevski 1996),
with the Coot and Red-crested Pochard being the
most abundant, which is explained by the presence of
extensive reedbeds, underwater Chara vegetation and
inux of nutrients by the Satoka River.
Habitats and land use
e lake constitutes the greater part of the site (Table
15). Clis along the western and especially eastern
shoreline are also part of the site. e most extensive
reedbeds are found on the northern shore of the Lake,
although small reed patches can be found along the
entire shoreline. e lake is oligotrophic. Smaller
xerophylous oak forests are found within the site
boundaries (Figure 10).
Threats
Lake Ohrid is an attractive tourist destination, and
practically the entire shoreline is strewn with tourist
Figure 10: Characteristic landscape of the IBA Lake Ohrid (photo: S. Hristovski)
Slika 10: Zna~ilna pokrajina IBA Ohridsko jezero (foto: S. Hristovski)
Table 16: The main threats to birds and their importance in the IBA Lake Ohrid
Tabela 16: Najpomembnej{i dejavniki ogrožanja ptic in njihov vpliv v IBA Ohridsko jezero
Code/
Koda Threat/
Dejavnik ogrožanja Threat impact/ Vpliv Most affected species/
Najbolj prizadete vrste
600 Sport and leisure structures high M. merganser
803 Infilling of ditches, dykes, ponds, marshes or pits high P. pygmeus
Table 15: The main CORINE land cover types (Level 3) in
the IBA Lake Ohrid
Tabela 15: Glavni tipi pokrovnosti in rabe tal (po CORINE
land cover, 3. nivo) v IBA Ohridsko jezero
Code/
Koda CORINE land cover type/
tip pokrovnosti in rabe tal Coverage/
Pokrovnost (%)
512 Water bodies 99.6
Other 0.4
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
203
available for the periods/years 1987–1990, 1997–
2002, 2004–2006 and 2009–2011 (Micevski &
Schneider 1997, Fremuth et al. 2000, Vasi} 2009a,
Wetlands International in litt., MES unpubl.).
e most numerous has been the Coot (1,000–20,700
ind.), followed by Tufted Duck (between as few as
12 ind. in 2002 and 9,000–12500 ind. in 1988–
1989), Black-necked Grebe (up to 5,800 in 2004,
with decline in numbers thereupon, the exception
being 2009 with 3900 ind.), Pochard (12,500 ind.
in 1988, 9,000 ind. in 1989, but only 15 ind. in
2004), and Teal Anas crecca (up to 2,500 ind.). e
total number of wintering waterbirds exceeded
20,000 individuals only in 2009, when 31,500
waterbirds were counted (Vasi} 2009a). e island
Golem Grad holds the largest Cormorant colony in
the country (2,500–3,000 pairs, Vasi} 2010) and
the only colony (ca. 50 pairs) of the Yellow-legged
Gull in Macedonia (Vasi} 2009a). 30–50 pairs of
Goosander breed along the lake shores (Vasi} 2010),
with some of them also wintering on the lake. Up to
Figure 11: Map of the IBA Lake Prespa with its main
features depicted
Slika 11: Zemljevid IBA Prespansko jezero z glavnimi
zna~ilnostmi obmo~ja
resorts. For the needs of tourism, beeches are expanded
and reedbeds removed or dried out. Eutrophication
probably takes place (Table 16). No zoning concept
has been implemented.
Conservation
e Lake is protected as a Nature Monument, and
is also proposed as an Emerald Site (MK0000024).
Together with the town of Ohrid and its wider
surrounding, it is listed on UNESCO’s list of World
Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites. e site also
includes a small portion of Galičica National Park.
3.2.4. Lake Prespa
General information
Name in English: Lake Prespa
Name in Macedonian: Prespansko Ezero
(Преспанско Езеро)
IBA code: MK006
Criteria: A1, A4i, B1i, B2
Area: 19,842 ha
Central coordinates: 21o00’43.56”E, 40o55’58.94”N
Altitude: 850–970 m a.s.l.
Administrative region(s): Resen
Site description
e site includes the Macedonian part of Lake Prespa
(Macro Prespa) in SW Macedonia, clis on its shoreline
and swamps near the villages of Stenje and Nakolec, as
well as wet meadows, reedbeds and shponds between
the villages of Sir Han and Asamati. It is adjacent to
the sites “Lake Megali Prespa” (AL003) in Albania and
“Lake Mikri Prespa and Lake Megali Prespa” (GR047)
in Greece (Heath and Evans 2000).
Lake Prespa’s coast is polygenetic; the east coast
(slopes of Mt Pelister) is of potamogene character as
a result of several river inows from the mountain
(Brajčinska Reka, Kranska Reka etc.). e northern
coast is basically of limnogene character, and along
the northern shoreline it is of phytogene origin (owing
to its wetland vegetation). On the western coast, the
shoreline is of abrasive character, with notable clis,
as a result of the geological composition represented
by Triassic limestone. e most important river is the
Golema Reka in the north. e max. depth of the lake
reaches 54 m (Figure 11).
Species
Bird fauna of Lake Prespa is among the best studied in
the country (Micevski 1998). In total, 103 waterbird
species have been recorded. Winter censuses data are
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
204
Table 18: The main CORINE land cover types (Level 3) in
the IBA Lake Prespa
Tabela 18: Glavni tipi pokrovnosti in rabe tal (po CORINE
land cover, 3. nivo) v IBA Prespansko jezero
Code/
Koda CORINE land cover type/
tip pokrovnosti in rabe tal Coverage/
Pokrovnost (%)
512 Water bodies 91.0
411 Inland marshes 4.9
Other 4.1
300 individuals of Dalmatian Pelican and up to 100
individuals of White Pelican can be seen concurrently
on the lake surface. Both pelican species breed at
Lake Mikri Prespa in Greece with estimated 1,169
pairs of Dalmatian and 332 pairs of White Pelican in
2010 (S  P  P ).
ey visit Lake Macro Prespa for feeding (when they
can be readily seen accompanying shermen’s boats)
and roosting, especially along the shoreline between
the villages of Konjsko and Stenje. On the basis
of these numbers, we have estimated the number
of non-breeding birds present in the Macedonian
part of Lake Prespa at 300–1,000 individuals of the
Dalmatian Pelican and 150–500 individuals of the
White Pelican. e population of the Ferruginous
Duck has been estimated at only 3–4 pairs breeding
in the presently dry shpond at Asamati village in
1995 (Micevski 1998), and at 3–10 pairs by Vasi}
(2010). e probable breeding population of the
Gadwall has also been estimated to 10 pairs at the
most (Vasi} 2010), supposedly on the grounds of
observations by Micevski (1998) in the breeding
period. Some 20–50 breeding pairs of the Great Egret
have been estimated to breed at Lake Prespa (Vasi}
2010), although the breeding colony may possibly
resides in its entirety in Greece. Still, the species uses
the Macedonian part of the lake for foraging as well.
Micevski (1998) reports on minimum 30 breeding
pairs of the Great Crested Grebe along the northern
shore, while Vasi} (2010) gives an estimate at 500–
750 pairs for Galičica National Park (both Ohrid
and Prespa shorelines included), which gives a rather
imprecise, but still high estimate of the breeding
population at 100–600 pairs (Table 17).
Habitats and land use
e lake surface constitutes the greater part of the site,
but extensive reedbeds are found along the northern
shore (between the villages of Sir Han and Asamati),
and along the eastern shoreline (near Stenje and at
Nakolec) (Table 18). Remains of riparian forests
can also be seen. ere are two drained shponds
with recent plans for reactivation. Large sand beach
in process of succession is found around the village
Table 17: List of triggering and other important bird species in the IBA Lake Prespa
Tabela 17: Seznam kvalifikacijskih in drugih pomembnih vrst ptic v IBA Prespansko jezero
Species/
Vrsta Season/
Sezona Year/
Leto Population/
Populacija Acc./
Zan. Criteria/
Kriteriji
Pelecanus crispus N2008–2010 300–1,000 ind. C A1, A4i, B1i
Pelecanus onocrotalus N2008–2010 150–500 ind. C A4i, B1i
Mergus merganser B2008–2010 30–50 B B1i
Mergus merganser W1987–2011 2–22 ind. A B1i
Ixobrychus minutus B2009 50–200 C B2
Podiceps cristatus W2010–2011 2,000–3,400 ind. A N
Podiceps cristatus B1987–2010 100–600 C N
Podiceps nigricollis W1989–2004 1,400–5,800 ind. A N
Phalacrocorax pygmeus B1993 10–20 C N
Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis B2008-2010 2,500-3,000 B N
Casmerodius albus N2010 60–150 ind. B N
Anas strepera B–1998 0–10 C N
Aythya nyroca B1998–2008 3–10 B N
Aythya ferina W1989–1999 1,850–3,200 ind. A N
Aythya fuligula W1988–1997 100 9,000 ind. A N
Fulica atra W1997–1998 9,000–9,750 ind. A N
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
205
of Stenje on the northern shore. Wet meadows and
Carex elds spread around the village of Perovo. Clis
are present on the island Golem Grad and between
Stenje and Konjsko villages, overgrown by old Greek
Juniper Juniperus excelsa forests (Figure 12).
Threats
Sand extraction and conversion of meadows into
intensively managed orchards are widely practiced
by the local population. Poaching is also common.
Tourism activities have decreased in the last two
decades, although plans for the construction of new
hotels exist. Water quality decreased, and the lake is
presently treated as eutrophic (Levkov et al. 2007)
(Table 19).
Conservation
e entire lake is protected as a Nature Monument;
since 1996, its northern shallow parts and shores
have been protected as Strict Nature Reserve Ezerani
Figure 12: Characteristic landscape of the IBA Lake Prespa (photo: Lj. Melovski)
Slika 12: Zna~ilna krajina IBA Prespansko jezero (foto: Lj. Melovski)
Table 19: The main threats to birds and their importance in the IBA Lake Prespa
Tabela 19: Najpomembnej{i dejavniki ogrožanja ptic in njihov vpliv v IBA Prespansko jezero
Code/
Koda Threat/
Dejavnik ogrožanja Threat impact/
Vpliv Most affected species/
Najbolj prizadete vrste
100 Cultivation high I. minutus
701 Water pollution high wintering waterbirds
952 Eutrophication high wintering waterbirds
243 Trapping, poisoning, poaching medium Anatidae
600 Sport and leisure structures medium P. crispus, P. onocrotalus
803 Infilling of ditches, dykes, ponds, marshes or pits medium A. nyroca, I. minutus
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
206
(2,080 ha). is reserve is presently in the process
of re-proclamation (in the category Nature Park),
and new boundaries covering 1,917 ha are propose.
Temporal and spatial zoning of the lake surface in
order to preserve waterbirds is missing. e coast
from Sir Han to the border with Albania and the
island Golem Grad are integrated into Galičica
National Park. All three protected areas are proposed
as Emerald Sites (MK0000001, MK0000002 and
MK0000025, respectively). It is also a Ramsar Site of
international importance, among other criteria due to
its importance for waterbirds. Management plans are
under development for Galičica and Ezerani.
3.2.5. Demir Kapija Gorge
General information
Name in English: Demir Kapija Gorge
Name in Macedonian: Demirkapiska Klisura
(Демиркаписка Клисура)
IBA code: MK008
Criteria: A1, A3, B2
Area: 9,665 ha
Central coordinates: 22o18’20.44”E, 41o23’46.84”N
Altitude: 110–928 m a.s.l.
Administrative region(s):
Demir Kapija, Gevgelija, Konče, Valandovo
Site description
Situated E-SE of the town of Demir Kapija in southern
Macedonia, the site includes about a half (upper part)
of the longest gorge of the Vardar River (in total ca.
20 km long). e border runs along the last houses of
Demir Kapija, turns south towards Čiik and Dren
villages, then follows the Drenska Reka (a tributary
of the Vardar) to the east to the Stefan ridge, where
it turns north. en it continues towards the hills of
Študer (609 m a.s.l.) and Veternikot, crosses the Vardar
and, by following the ridges of Ilovski Čukar (524 m
a.s.l.), Golem (928 m a.s.l.) and Mal Karadag (707 m
a.s.l.), reaches Vaganar (880 m a.s.l.). From there it
turns west and follows the intermittent rivulets Linan
Dere and Dobroište, runs through Iberlija village and
follows the Lesovo rivulet to Kurtlu Čuka. en it
continues south, and via Sreden Rid (556 m a.s.l.)
descends to the Vardar River, crossing it at Demir
Kapija. In this way, the border is strongly modied as
for the one in Heath & Evans (2000).
Main morphological characteristic is the gorge,
which is in certain parts a typical canyon with walls
of over 200 m high. Jurassic limestones are dominant
in the beginning of the gorge, while in the SE the
geological composition is of Jurassic magmatic
rocks. Main tributaries of the Vardar are the Iberliska
(Čelevečka) Reka (forming a typical canyon) and the
Golema Javorica (Figure 13).
Table 20: List of triggering and other important bird species in the IBA Demir Kapija Gorge
Tabela 20: Seznam kvalifikacijskih in drugih pomembnih vrst v IBA Soteska Demir Kapija
Species/
Vrsta Season/
Sezona Year/
Leto Population/
Populacija Acc./
Zan. Criteria/
Kriteriji
Neophron percnopterus B2006–2010 2–3 A A1
Alectoris graeca RCommon A3
Oenanthe hispanica BCommon A3
Sylvia cantillans BAbundant A3
Sitta neumayer RCommon A3
Emberiza melanocephala BFrequent A3
Circaetus gallicus B2007 5–8 B B2
Accipiter brevipes B2005 4–6 B B2
Ciconia nigra B2010 1A N
Gyps fulvus R2009–2010 6–7 A N
Buteo rufinus R2010 1–2 B N
Milvus migrans B2010 1A N
Aquila pennata B2010 1A N
Aquila chrysaetos R2010 1–2 A N
Falco biarmicus B2007 0–1 B
Falco peregrinus R2009 2B N
Bubo bubo R2005 3–5 B N
Acrocephalus 31 (147): 181−282, 2010
207
species characteristic of the Mediterranean biome is
the Subalpine Warbler (presumably one of the highest
densities in the country) in the pseudomaquis, and the
Rock Nuthatch on the limestone clis (Table 20).
Figure 13: Map of the IBA Demir Kapija Gorge with its main features depicted
Slika 13: Zemljevid IBA Soteska Demir Kapija z glavnimi zna~ilnostmi obmo~ja
Table 21: The main CORINE land cover types (Level 3) in
the IBA Demir Kapija Gorge
Tabela 21: Glavni tipi pokrovnosti in rabe tal (po CORINE
land cover, 3. nivo) v IBA Soteska Demir Kapija
Code/
Koda CORINE land cover type/
tip pokrovnosti in rabe tal Coverage/
Pokrovnost (%)
242 Complex cultivation patterns 5.7
311 Broad-leaved forest 21.6
332 Bare rocks 0.3
323 Sclerophyllous vegetation 34.8
324 Transitional woodland-shrub 33.2
Other 4.4
Species
is location is best known by the birds of prey
breeding on limestone clis, especially Grion and
Egyptian Vultures. Both had undergone strong
decline; in 1996, their breeding populations were
estimated at 16 and 10 pairs (Gruba~ 1997 &
unpubl.), but numbered only six and two pairs in
2010, respectively. e Grion Vulture colony there
is one of the only three remaining breeding colonies
in Macedonia. e total number of all registered bird
species reached 149 (Rolevski et al. 2003). Today,
the site is one of the ve most important localities
in the country for the Short-toed Eagle (5–8 pairs),
whose breeding density with 0.5 pairs/10 km2 is the
highest in the country (V  Gruba~ ).
Riparian Oriental Plane forests are very favourable for
the breeding of the Levant Sparrowhawk (4–6 pairs).
Among other species rarely found in Macedonia are
the Booted Eagle, Black Kite, Black Stork, Long-
legged Buzzard, etc. Most abundant among the
M. Velevski, B. Hallmann, B. Gruba~, T. Lisi~anec, E. Stoynov, E. Lisi~anec, V. Avukatov, L. Boži~ & B. Stumberger:
Important Bird Areas in Macedonia: Sites of Global and European Importance
208
Habitats and land use
Limestone clis dominate the landscape, but degraded
pseudomaquis with dominance of Kermes Oak
Quercus coccifera is the prevailing forest community.
At some locations, mature oak forests with signicant
presence of Silver Lime Tilia argentea are found, while
along the Vardar and all smaller rivers, Oriental Plane
Platanus orientalis belts are present (Table 21, Figure
14).
Threats
Hunting and poaching regularly take place, and use
Figure 14: Characteristic landscape of the IBA Demir Kapija Gorge (photo: M. Velevski)
Slika 14: Zna~ilna krajina IBA Soteska Demir Kapija (foto: M. Velevski)
Table 22: The main threats to birds and their importance in the IBA Demir Kapija Gorge
Tabela 22: Najpomembnej{i dejavniki ogrožanja ptic in njihov vpliv v IBA Soteska Demir Kapija
Code/
Koda Threat/
Dejavnik ogrožanja Threat impact/
Vpliv Most affected species/
Najbolj prizadete vrste
243 Trapping, poisoning, poaching high G. fulvus, N. percnopterus, A. chrysaetos, A. graeca
141 Abandonment of pastoral systems high G. fulvus, N. percnopterus
230 Hunting high G. fulvus, A. graeca
160 General forestry management medium C. nigra, A. pennata, M. migrans, C. gallicus<