The ornithological importance of Dalaman (Muğla, Turkey) wetlands and threats to the bird population


Abstract: The study, conducted from May 2002 to December 2004, aimed to provide scientific baseline data about avifaunal richness, species of breeding birds, and threats that affect both bird species and ecosystems, and to support attempts to get official protection status for the Dalaman (Muğla, Turkey) wetlands. A total of 215 bird species were recorded using point counts throughout transect lines. The species' statuses were determined as follows: 56 residents, 78 summer visitors, 44 winter visitors, 22 passage migrants, and 15 undetermined. Of the 215 species, 93 (43%) were non-breeders. According to EBCC (European Bird Census Council) criteria, the 122 breeding species were determined as 32 (15%) possible, 24 (11%) probable, and 66 (31%) confirmed breeders. Moreover, 49 (40%) of the breeding species were in SPEC (Species of European Conservation Concern) categories. The main observed threats for bird populations and habitats in the area were illegal hunting, cutting reed beds, uncontrolled agricultural pesticide and insecticide usage, agricultural and touristic activities, domestic waste, and noise from the airport. This study showed that the wetland ecosystems and the surrounding marshland, farmland, and forest ecosystems of Dalaman provide a good refuge for many bird species. Therefore, we think that the study area must urgently be protected by laws to reduce the human impact on the area.

Keywords: Birds of Turkey, coastal wetlands, Dalaman, wetland conservation, IBA

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