Comparison of waterbird communities in a mediterranean salina – saltmarsh complex

Birtsas P., Sokos C., Papaspyropoulos K., Kazoglou Y.  2011. Comparison of waterbird communities in a mediterranean salina – saltmarsh complex. Belgian Journal of Zoology 141 (1): 24–31.


Coastal wetlands provide habitat for large numbers and many species of waterbirds. Man-made salinas are a particular habitat type often found in such wetlands. This study is an initiative to understand the differences in bird communities between a salina (including evaporation ponds and prebasin) and a saltmarsh. Bird counts and nest surveys took place in the wetlands of Angelochori, Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1991, when the salina was inactive, and in 1997, 2000-01 when it was active. Counts in evaporation ponds were richer in species, abundance and nests compared to the prebasin and the saltmarsh. These three wetland types supported different bird communities. Similarities among bird communities depended on the inundation of the salina with seawater. Evaporation ponds in their inactive period presented low similarity with the communities of the prebasin and the saltmarsh; in the active period this was observed only for the saltmarsh. Species showing clear selection of the evaporation ponds were Charadrius alexandrinus, Calidris alpina, Calidris minuta, Recurvirostra avosetta, Sterna hirundo, Sternula albifrons, Sterna sandvicensis and Haematopus ostralegus; the prebasin was preferred by Phoenicopterus roseus and Anas platyrhynchos, and the saltmarsh by Anas querquedula, Anas clypeata, Plegadis falcinellus, Tringa totanus, Tringa glareola, Tringa stagnatilis and Himantopus himantopus.


Key-words: conservation, shorebirds, waders, waterfowl, estuary