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Albania

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax ©Sue Tranter

Albania, officially the Republic of Albania is a country in South Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Greece to the southeast, Montenegro to the north, Kosovo to the northeast, and the Republic of Macedonia to the east. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 miles) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.

Albania has a total area of 28,750 square kilometers. Its coastline is 362 kilometres long and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea. The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the district of Dibra, reaching up to 2,753 metres (9,032 ft). The country has a continental climate at its high altitude regions with cold winters and hot summers. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 800,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë, Korçë and Kukës.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country's northwest has a surface of 368 km², out of which 149 km² belong to Albania. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km. Ohrid Lake is situated in the country's southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including “living fossils” and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO.

Over a third of the territory of Albania – about a million hectares (2.5 million acres) – is forested and the country was very rich in flora. About 3.000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Adriatic and East Mediterranean provinces of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the WWF and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Mountains mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars, and chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

Top Sites

Butrinti National Park

Information

Satellite View

Butrint is located in the south of Albania, on the coast opposite the island of Corfu (which is Greek). It is an especially interesting site as it has one of the best Greek/Roman ruins (currently being improved by a British archeological foundation) in the Mediterranean, and which is part of the Butrint National Park. The park encompasses a typical Mediterranean coastal wetland, which is being referred for Ramsar status. The website has a birdlist for the park. Anyone birding Corfu could easily get there via the ferry from Corfu to Saranda (not far), in Albania. Taxis to the site (24 kms) are quite cheap and there is even a very cheap local bus if you are prepared to wait. The wetland and surrounding hills have footpaths which are marked on the informative park leaflet (in English). The area is peaceful, as are the local people, and very definitely non-threatening and a visit can combine high class birding and a superb cultural experience.

Contributor

Wikipedia

GNU Free Documentation License

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albania

Top Site - Paul Mollatt

UK

paul_mollatt@hotmail.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 312

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

Albania Guide to its Natural Treasures

Wolfgang Fremuth (Editor)

ISBN: 3931323064

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

BirdLife

Albanian Society for the Protection of Birds (ASPBM) is the BirdLife Partner Designate

Guides & Tour Operators

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Green Eye Ecotours

Tour Company

Today we provide outdoor-oriented tours, adventures, expeditions…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2004 [05 May] - Robert Butlin

Report

My birdwatching started on Friday 30th April, when with the very grateful approval of Taulant and his colleagues from the Museum of Natural History I hitched a ride on a trip to survey a wetland north of Tirana at which Italian hunters had apparently been shooting Ferruginous Duck Aythia ferrugea over the Winter. On the way up I spotted but was unable to identify, a lone male harrier. Given the report in May`s British Birds I`m tempted to claim it as a Pallid Circus Macronus, but in reality I can`t tell…

2009 [05 May] - Croatia & Montenegro

Report PDF

…During the eight days spent in Croatia and Montenegro we saw a total of 139 different species of birds plus 3 subspecies of Yellow Wagtail…

2012 [04 April] - Croatia & Montenegro

Report PDF

…After crossing the border to Montenegro we drove around the picturesque southernmost fjord of Europe, the Kotorsko-Risanski Bay. A pair of Golden Eagles was seen while having picnic lunch. We stopped to admire the agility of Crag Martins near Risan….

Organisations

Albanian

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tirana University, Al-Tirana, +335 42 29 028 entelac@ngoinfoc.tirana.al

Reserves

Butrint Bay Trail

Satellite View

The woodland is dominated by trees such as elm, ash, valonian oak, white poplar and holm oak. Golden orioles, common buzzards, scops owls and lesser kestrels can be seen here along with Balkan green lizards, agile frogs, common terrapins and the globally endangered Hermann’s and marginated tortoises…

Butrint National Park

Information

Satellite View

Butrint nature park boasts a high degree of biodiversity, with the presence of rare species under preservation, which make the site attractive for eco-tourists and naturalists…

Important Bird Areas

Information

BirdLife International's annotated list of IBAs in Albania.

Prespa Park

Information

Satellite View

Declaration on the Creation of the Prespa Park and the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Lakes and their Surroundings…

Wetland of International Importance

Webpage

The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Albania on 29 February 1996. Albania presently has 4 sites designated as a Wetlands of International Importance.

Other Links

EAF Project

Information

The conservation of birds, and particularly the Dalmatian pelican in the Divjak-Karavasta complex.