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Distribution of the breeding population around 2006

Breeding 2006Breeding 2012Breeding countries

The major results from the Pan-European count of breeding colonies are summarised in a leaflet produced by Wetlands International.

The map below and the following review of the overall distribution of the breeding population of cormorants around 2006 is based on Bregnballe et al. (2011), Proceedings 7th International Conference on Cormorants, IUCN/Wetlands International Cormorant Research Group (available through this home page).

The coordinated counts of breeding colonies of cormorants in Europe suggested that ca. 52,000 pairs of the subspecies P. c. carbo were breeding in Europe around 2006 (Greenland not included). Norway had the largest breeding population of 30,000 pairs. Fewer were breeding in the United Kingdom (8,500 pairs), Ireland (4,500 pairs), Iceland (4,100 pairs) and probably fewer than 3,000 in France.

Among the cormorants belonging to the subspecies P. c. sinensis the vast majority were breeding in the countries around the Baltic Sea. In these countries, a total of 517 breeding colonies held 165,650 breeding pairs. One of the colonies at the Baltic coast had 11,500 nests.

In the western and central part of Europe the most important breeding areas for sinensis were found in The Netherlands (23,500 nests), France (ca. 6,000 nests), Hungary (3,200 nests), Italy (2,150 nests), Croatia (2,150 nests) and Belgium (1,650 nests). The largest breeding numbers close to the Mediterranean Sea were found in Montenegro (2,000 nests) and Greece (>4,600 nests).

The Danube Delta and the northern coastal areas of the Black Sea (Ukraine) made up very important breeding areas together with the areas around the Sea of Azov. The size of the breeding population in this region could not be precisely estimated due to incomplete coverage, but the observers recorded a total of 120,750 nests. The Black Sea region held a single colony of 14,200 nests.


This map shows the distribution and relative size of most of the cormorant breeding colonies of the subspecies sinensis counted around 2006.