Republic of Kosovo

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio ©Qenan Maxhuni Website
Birding Kosovo

Kosovo is a partially-recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe, which declared itself as the Republic of Kosovo (2008). Defined in an area of 10,908 square kilometres (4,212 square miles), Kosovo is landlocked in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula and bordered by the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest and Montenegro to the west. Geographically, Kosovo possesses varied and opposing landscapes for its size determined by the ideal climate along with the geology and hydrology. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast plains of Dukagjin and Kosovo. The Albanian Alps and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast respectively.

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.

Top Sites
  • Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    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

    Satellite View
    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

    InformationSatellite 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.
Contributors
  • Qenan Maxhuni

    | qmaxhuni@yahoo.com

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 267

    (As at February 2019)
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

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
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Bjeshkët e Nemuna

    InformationSatellite View
    The Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park is a national park in Gjakova and Peć Districts of Western Kosovo along the borders with Albania and Montenegro. It encompasses 63,028 hectares (630.28 km2) of mountainous terrain, with numerous lakes, dense deciduous and coniferous forests and alpine landscapes.Almost 37 species of mammals, 148 species of birds, 10 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibia and 129 species of butterflies have been documented to occur within the boundaries of the park.
  • NP Sharr Mountains

    InformationSatellite View
    The Sharr Mountains National Park is a national park in southeastern Kosovo. It covers 53,272 hectares (532.72 km2) and is centered on the northern Sharr Mountains, a mountain range that extend in northeastern Albania, southeastern Kosovo and northwestern Macedonia. The flora of the park is represented by 1558 species of vascular plants. The fauna includes 32 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, 13 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibia, 7 species of fish and 147 species of butterflies.
  • NR Maja e Arnenit Strict Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The Maja e Arnenit Strict Nature Reserve is a strict nature reserve in the District of Prizren of Southeastern Kosovo. Maja e Arnenit has an area of 30 ha.
  • NR Oshlak Strict Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The Oshlak Strict Nature Reserve is a strict nature reserve in the District of Prizren and Ferizaj of Southeastern Kosovo.[2] The reserve encompasses 20 hectares (0.20 square kilometres) of mountainous and hilly terrain, small lakes and wide forests with numerous of the related flora and fauna. It is entirely located within the Sharr Mountains National Park. An extraordinary variety of wildlife species live in the region that are of high biodiversity value. Perhaps the most iconic species are the brown bear, red fox, roe deer, golden eagle, wild goat and wild boar.
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