Axios Delta colony: pygmy cormorant nests almost doubled


This year’s nesting bird counts in the Axios Delta colony brought us good news concerning the pygmy cormorant’s breeding. The nests of the species almost doubled from 184 last year to 308.

In contrast to its close “relative”, the common cormorant, which thrives in Greek wetlands, the pygmy cormorant is a protected species, included in the Red Book of Endangered Animals of Greece. Yet, fortunately, although other species numbers deteriorate, this bird’s population present some trends of growth and expansion in Europe in the recent years. The pygmy cormorant is an important species for the Axios Delta, as one of species thanks to which the area was proclaimed protected.

In total, more than 1,300 nests were recorded this year in the mixed colony of the Axios Delta, located on an islet near the estuary of the river Axios. These include herons, as well as spoonbills, glossy ibises, pygmy cormorants and cormorants. It is worth mentioning that all ten species of herons nesting in colonies in Europe nest in this colony (little egrets, night herons, squaccos, gray herons, great egrets and cattle herons).

Ringing with plastic rings

The bird counts took place during the yearly bird ringing program contacted by scientists of the Forest Research Institute and the Thermaikos Gulf Protected Areas Management Authority. “This is the third year that we carry out ringings on spoonbills and glossy ibises, in order to learn more about their wintering areas, a subject on which we lack knowledge” reports Savvas Kazantzidis, researcher at the Forest Research Institute. Ringing is an important tool for monitoring the movements of the bird populations.

So far, several individuals of these species have been found during their migration in many wetlands in Greece (Axios, Gallikos, Kerkini, Karla) and Turkey.