Acta Biologica (Jan 2018)

Long-term changes in the numbers of waterbirds at an important European wintering site

  • Dominik Marchowski,
  • Łukasz Ławicki,
  • Sebastian Guentzel,
  • Jacek Kaliciuk,
  • Zbigniew Kajzer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 25


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Waterbirds were regularly monitored in north-western Poland from 2002 to 2018. Counts took place in the most important areas where wintering waterbirds concentrate in this region, the most important wintering ground for this group of birds in Poland and one of the most important in Europe. In addition to the wintering function, this area also has a very important function as a stopover site for significant numbers of African-Eurasian Flyway migrants. The average number of all waterbirds covered by the study from 2002 to 2018 was 117,000. Numbers in recent years (2011–2018) have increased significantly (P < 0.001) compared to the first half of the study (2002–2010). The most important species found here during the non-breeding period were: Greater Scaup Aythya marila (mean number for 2002–2018: 20,600), Tufted Duck A. fuligula (26,700), Common Pochard A. ferina (1,500), Smew Mergellus albellus (1,400), Goosander Mergus merganser (7,700), Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus (840), Eurasian Coot Fulica atra (8,400), Mute Swan Cygnus olor (1,100), Whooper Swan C. cygnus (890), Bean Goose Anser fabalis (13,000) and White-fronted Goose A. albifrons (6,500). The importance of this region at the European scale for migratory and wintering waterbirds has increased, and this presents new challenges to the institutions responsible for protecting these areas.