Danube Delta World Heritage Site The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.
The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, shared with Romania and Ukraine, is a labyrinth of water and land, made up of countless lakes, channels, islands at the end of a 2,860 km long river. The Danube Delta is the largest European wetland and reed bed, forming also Europe’s largest water purification system. The area is particularly well known for the abundance of birdlife: 312 important bird species are present in the Delta, which is an important stopover and breeding area for many bird species. About 90 fish species are fond here, including populations of sturgeon. It is also one of the last refuges for the European mink, the wildcat, the freshwater otter and the globally threatened monk seal. The biosphere reserve was declared as both Natural World Heritage and Ramsar site in 1991.
- As a young region in full process of consolidation, the Danube Delta represents a very favourable place for the development of highly diverse flora and fauna, unique in Europe, with numerous rare species.
- The plaur is a mixture of reed roots, grass and soil, usually floating or anchored on the bottom. As a rule, the reed surrounds the lakes and ponds, slowly invading the water surface. This type of ecosystem is noted for the variety and large populations of birds, some of them very rare. The most important are the tufted duck (Aythya fuligula, red crested pochard (Netta rufina), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Greylag goose (Anser anser), Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), purple heron (Ardea purpurea), Great white egret (Egretta alba), little egret (Egretta garzetta), Spoon bill (Platalea leucorodia), White pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Mute swan (Cygnus olor), Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). Among the mammals, there is the otter (Lutra lutra), mink (Mustela lutreola), little ermine (Mustela erminea aestiva), wild boar (Sus scrofa), wild cat (Felis silvestris), and in the winter, the hare (Lepus europaeus), and on the brink of disappearing from the delta, the wolf and the fox. The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), bizam (Onda zibethica), and to some extent the copyu (Myocastor coypus) are recent species successfully adapted.
- The Danube Delta is home to over 60% of the world’s population of pygmy cormorants (phalacrocorax pygmeus), 50% of red-breasted geese (branta ruficollis) and the largest number of white pelicans (pelecanus onocrotalus) and Dalmatian pelicans (pelecanus crispus) in Europe.
- It also is home to the world’s largest reed bed expanse – 625, 000 acres / 240,000 ha.
- More then half of the Delta Biosphere Reserve is virtually intact.
- A bird-watchers’ paradise, the Danube Delta offers the opportunity to spot more than 300 species of migratory and resident birds, including eagles, egrets, vultures, geese, cranes, ibises, cormorants, swans and pelicans. Located on the 45th parallel, the Danube Delta makes for a perfect stopping-off point between the Equator and the North Pole for millions of migratory birds
- The White Pelican (pelecanus onocrotalus) :In March, swaths of white pelicans leave the Nile Delta and the Red Sea to come nest in the Danube Delta. The Delta is home to Europe’s largest breeding population (some 3,500 pairs).
- Dalmatian Pelican (pelecanus crispus): After decades of decline, this species’ numbers have slowly begun to increase in the Delta. Currently, some 150 pairs have been spotted in several small colonies.