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Publication number 45. Stichting WIWO

Title: Bird census in the Kizilirmak delta, Turkey, in spring 1992
Editors: Fred Hustings & Klaas van Dijk
Publication date: 1994


The Kizilirmak delta near Bafra is the largest remaining wetland ecosystem along the Turkish Black Sea coast. However, the area is seriously threatened by drainage and other adverse developments. Up-to-date information about the breeding bird population was urgently needed. Therefore, a joint project was organised by the Foundation Working Group International Wader and Waterfowl Research (WIWO) and Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD). The project was executed between 16 March and 10 June 1992.

The main aims of the study were
  • to establish the species composition and abundance of breeding birds;
  • to identify the areas of greatest importance for breeding bird species, with special emphasis on rare or endangered birds;
  • to gather information on the occurrence and distribution of non-breeding bird species.

Most important ways of gathering data on breeding birds were systematic surveys of all breeding bird species in 34 small study plots of 40-200 ha, and systematic surveys of a selection of breeding bird species in large areas.
During this survey 121 bird species were recorded as certain or probable breeding birds. In 19 other species it was not clear whether breeding occurred. Among the breeding birds, there were 7-8 species of herons, 10-12 species of ducks, 8-11 raptors and 9-10 waders. Passerines were the most common bird group, with 59-63 species recorded breeding. Eight species had an estimated breeding population of at least 1000 pairs, all of them passerines. Olivaceous Warbler and House Sparrow were the most numerous breeding bird species.
The numbers and the occurrence of many typical wetland species, often rare or endangered, clearly point out the importance of the Kizilirmak delta. Breeding birds like Dalmation Pelican (6 bp), Bittern (200-250), Little Egret (230), Great White Egret (11-15), Purple Heron (475-500), Black Stork (30-35), White Stork (125-130), Spoonbill (76) and Crane (40-50) are typical examples of large heron-like breeding birds of such wetland ecosystems. Other marshland breeding birds like Marsh Harrier (250-275 bp), Water Rail (500-700), Savi's Warbler (500-750), Reed Warbler (1500-2000), Great Reed Warbler (275-325) and Bearded Tit (100-150) emphasise this significance as well.
Another 146 non-breeding bird species were recorded. In total, 286 bird species were recorded in spring 1992. So far, more than 300 bird species have been recorded in the delta.
The results of the breeding bird survey in spring 1992 clearly demonstrate the outstanding international importance of this nearly unprotected area.

The report contains:
  • Breeding and non-breeding birds: general results;
  • Counts of water birds
  • Ringing activities
  • Species accounts