Artificial nesting platforms support population recovery of the Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus along the Danube River in Bulgaria

  • Published source details Cheshmedzhiev S., Todorov E., Koev V., Mihov S. & Kutzarov Y. (2022) Artificial nesting platforms support population recovery of the Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus along the Danube River in Bulgaria. Conservation Evidence, 19, 15-20.


The Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus is a Near Threatened species of waterbird with populations in the wetlands of the Lower Danube River. Breeding populations declined due to habitat loss and wetland drainage and conservation efforts have focused on bringing breeding Dalmatian pelicans back to their former wetland sites in Bulgaria. Since 2008, conservation efforts have focused on building artificial nesting platforms at marshes along the Lower Danube River. These efforts resulted in considerable growth of the population in the country. Between 2011 and 2021, four wooden platforms were installed at the Belene Island wetland complex (Pechina and Martvo Marshes) and the Kalimok wetland complex. All four platforms were used successfully by pelicans, resulting in the formation of two new breeding colonies and a total of 91 pairs in 2021. The majority, 88 pairs, were recorded at the Belene Island marshes, with the remainder at the Kalimok colony. The average annual breeding success was 1.17 young per pair at Peschina Marsh (occupied from 2016-2021), 0.90 at Martvo Marsh (2020-2021), and 1.33 at Kalimok (2021). The average across all three colonies was 1.14 young per pair. By 2021, the breeding population of Dalmatian pelicans in Bulgaria had grown to 131-150 breeding pairs at three locations.

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