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1 September 2011 Waterbirds Wintering on the Crimean Peninsula Coast of the Black Sea
Michał Ciach
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As the importance of the Black Sea for wintering waterbirds is poorly known, the species composition and abundance of waterbirds wintering on the Crimean Peninsula coast (Northern Black Sea) was investigated in two habitat types: urban areas and open sea coast. Of 27 waterbird species, 25 were recorded in urban areas, and the dominants were Coot (Fulica atra), Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) and Common Gull (Larus canus). On the open sea coast, fifteen species were recorded, the dominants being Coot, cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo and Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus). The species structure of the wintering waterbird community differed significantly between habitats. A trait of the open sea coast community was the high diversity and domination of diving ichthyophagous species. Waterfowl were recorded only in urban areas, which increased species diversity in this habitat. The number of birds wintering on the open sea coast was significantly lower than in the urban areas. Males dominated among ducks, and adult birds dominated among Black-headed and Common Gulls wintering in urban areas. The age structure of Caspian Gulls (Larus cachinnans) differed significantly between the two habitats, with adults dominant on the open sea coast, and immature birds making up more than half of all recorded Caspian Gulls in urban areas. The importance of the Black Sea for wintering waterbirds has been underestimated. Marine and coastland ecosystems with concentrations of waterbirds should be designated and protected as Important Bird Areas (IBAs).

Michał Ciach "Waterbirds Wintering on the Crimean Peninsula Coast of the Black Sea," Waterbirds 34(3), 376-380, (1 September 2011).
Received: 1 March 2011; Accepted: 1 June 2011; Published: 1 September 2011

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