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Republic of Kosovo

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio ©Qenan Maxhuni Website

Kosovo is located in the central part of Balkan Peninsula. An area of 10,908 km2 with around 1.8 million inhabitants Kosovo won its independence in 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo.

Most of Kosovo's terrain is mountainous with the highest peak Gjeravica (2,656 m) within the National Park ‘Bjeshket e Nemuna’ and lowest point White Drini River (297 m) in border with Albania. Geographical location, geological, pedology and hydrological factors, the landscape and climate have enabled Kosovo to have a rich biology and diverse landscape.

First steps of nature protection in Kosovo begun in late of 50s by declaring the first protected zone. Today, Kosovo has about 11% of its territory protected by law, under which are included the protected areas of different categories such as nature reserves, national parks, nature parks, protected monuments and other natural areas of special importance.

Although Kosovo is a small place, distinguished for its rich biological and landscape biodiversity with particular emphasis on fauna, which is worth mentioning the presence of species with special internationally importance. Kosovo`s fauna in general and especially birds fauna has not been studied sufficiently. So far in Kosovo recognized about 220 bird species and assumed that their number is much larger than 300 species.

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Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park

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Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park in the west of Kosovo, descends almost vertically to the east and northeast along the end of Dukagjini valley and the Ibar River valley. In the West it is part of the mountainous border with Albania and Montenegro. The Park covers an area of 62,488 ha, or 5.7% of the territory of Kosovo. Because of its characteristic geographical location, geological structure and hydrological values this area has a very interesting biological and landscape diversity. It was declared the National park in January 2013 for its geography, geomorphology, flora and fauna. It is an important natural region in Kosovo, but also the entire Balkan Peninsula. In that regard, this area is among the most typical mountain massifs in the Balkans, with more than 1,000 plant species discovered so far. In addition to rich flora, the area is characterised by the richness of its fauna too; 8 fish, 13 amphibians, 10 reptiles, 178 birds, 129 butterflies and 37 mammals. Among its special birds are: Imperial eagle Aquila heliaca, Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos and Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus. There are probably more than 200 species of birds because of the high diversity and it being on a migratory route, making Bjeshket e Nemuna have a potential IBA.

Henci-Radeva Wetland

Henci/ Radeva wetland lies in the centre of Kosovo, near the International Airport of 'Adem Jashari' and has total area of 110 ha. This wetland was created from the merger of Vrella and Magura watercourses, which are branches of the River Sitnica. The Wetland was created in 1960s, with the aim of cultivating the type of Carp Cyprinus carpio. It is considering the only ecosystem for such species in Kosovo, although artificially formed, it is characterised by its natural value ornithologically, ichtyologically, geologically and botanically, etc. In 2013, the Institute for Nature Protection prepared a professional study to declare the area as Bird Protection Area. It is particularly noted for its faunal diversity, particularly birds. 78 have been reported but there are bound to be more as no survey has been carried out.

Sharri National Park

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Satellite View

Sharri National Park is located in the south-eastern part of Kosovo. Sharri Mountain represents a separate branch of the Dinarides and a gigantic natural border between Macedonia and Kosovo. 70 km of long and 30 km wide, it is one of the largest and highest mountains on the Balkan Peninsula. The Park has an area of 53,469 hectares. With over 1500 species of plants, as many as 20% of which are endemic, Sharri Mountain National Park is a true example of the raw beauty of unspoiled nature. Add to that more than 200 species of birds, lots of other animal species including 147 species of butterflies of exquisite beauty and you will easily understand why Sharri Mountain is considered one of the most important protected ecological areas of biodiversity of the central Balkans. Due to the large areas of intact ecosystems and limited human action the National Park is a stronghold for several threatened species of European importance. Together with other national park in Kosovo Sharri has great potential to be declared an IBA.

Contributor

Qenan Maxhuni

Ornithologist

qmaxhuni@yahoo.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 220

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Organisations

Association for Protection of Birds & Mammals

Str. Mother Teresa n.n. Building of Philologist Faculty 10 000 Prishtine, KOSOVE, Prof. Dr. Agim Gashi, President of Association, birds.mammals.kos@gmail.com; or agim_gashi@yahoo.com

Ecological Association Eko Viciana

Bregu i Diellit II Rr. Sali Nivica nr. 50, 10000 Prishtine, KOSOVE, President: Dr. Zeqir Hashani, eko_viciana@yahoo.com

Other Links

Zogjte e Kosoves (Birds of Kosova)

Facebook Page

Kosovo Green Pages

Information

Some links

Photographers & Artists

Birds in Kosovo

Gallery

Nexhmedin Ramadani

Gallery

More than birding... but some bird pics.

Qenan Maxhuni

Gallery