The Danube Delta is a paradise teeming with life. Home to over 300 species of birds, the area is one of the best places in Europe for bird photography. Whether you're an experienced bird photographer or a keen amateur seeking an encounter with nature's beauty, the Danube Delta is a fantastic place to capture images of some of the most remarkable bird species in the world.
The birds of the Danube Delta range from the colourful bee-eaters & eagles soaring high above the wetlands to majestic pelicans fishing for prey; the region provides a beautiful backdrop for the birds of the Danube Delta. Interestingly, from the village of Mila 23, which is the centre of the triangle formed by the three arms of the Danube, the only way around is by boat, as within the Delta there are no cars.
So what kind of birds can you expect to see in the extraordinary Danube Delta? The area is home to many species of waterfowl, including ducks, geese, swans, & cormorants. But it is also rich in raptors, like the common buzzard, lesser spotted eagle, & the magnificent white-tailed eagle; there are also many warblers.
Raptor Species Found in the Danube Delta
The most common raptor species in the Danube Delta is the white-tailed eagle, which can be seen soaring above the wetlands in search of food. These large birds of prey typically stay close to the Delta's main rivers but can also be spotted in the estuaries, lagoons, & canals.
Other raptors that inhabit the region include the Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Northern Goshawk, & Buzzard. These magnificent creatures help to create a unique & vibrant ecosystem within the Danube Delta.
Egret Species Found in the Danube Delta
The Danube Delta hosts several species of egrets, each with distinctive features. Great egrets are the largest, measuring up to 41 inches in length & sporting a snow-white plumage. With their long neck & slender black bill, they make a striking sight perched atop the reeds along the riverbanks. The little egret is also quite striking, exhibiting a greyish-blue hue on its coat & white crest atop its head. Cattle egrets are the smallest of the bunch, with their cream & brown colouration, stocky figure, & slightly curved bill.
These three species of egrets exhibit different behaviours & habits, yet they all make their home in the Danube Delta – a testament to the region's biodiversity.
Heron Species Found in the Danube Delta
The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) is one of the most commonly seen species in the Danube Delta. They can often be found near lakes, rivers & marshes, standing still in shallow water, looking for their next meal. In addition to the Grey Heron, this area is also home to the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea). While difficult to distinguish from the Grey Heron at first glance, Purple Herons tend to be larger, have darker plumage, & a wider wingspan.
The Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is also a frequent visitor to the Danube Delta. Usually found near wetlands & estuaries, this mysterious bird is most active during the night when they visit open fields & pastures looking for prey. During the day, they are more secretive & remain hidden in dense vegetation.
The Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a small species of heron widely distributed across Asia, Europe, & Africa. They inhabit freshwater marshes, wet meadows & even rice paddies, but the Danube Delta is particularly significant for their population. It's estimated that several thousand of these herons can be found in the area during the spring & summer months, & they often form large colonies of nesting grounds grouped along the riverbanks.
What makes the Squacco Herons of the Danube Delta unique?
The region is a favourable habitat for many heron species, but one stands out as a rather special bird in the Danube Delta. This species typically breeds earlier in the year than their counterparts, resulting in an overlap with the influx of migratory birds. This means that the Squacco Herons can reap the rewards of a wealth of food & resources made available by their cohabitants. Furthermore, because of the wide range, they can stay in the Delta year-round, meaning they make the most of their habitat.
Other birds of the Danube Delta
We have already mentioned above the majestic White-tailed Sea Eagles, but the region is also home to more sedentary species like the Common Kingfisher, Cormorants, Glossy Ibis, Terns, Lapwings, Moorhens, Eurasian Coots, Swans & more.
One of the most striking birds in the region is the Great White Pelican; these large & impressive birds can often be seen soaring effortlessly through the skies above the delta, reaching a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters. Other large birds in the area are the Black Storks, which can be identified by their large wingspans & distinctive black & white colouration.
Smaller birds, such as warblers, finches, & wagtails, also make their home in the Delta. While they may not be as easily spotted as the larger birds, they provide an essential part of the local ecosystem, helping to keep the insect population in check. The reed warbler, in particular, is a common sight in the marshes & wetlands of the delta, often flitting about among the reeds & plants.
Which Photography Holidays Does Natureslens Schedule to the Danube Delta?
NaturesLens schedules at least one photography tour of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve every year; each tour is designed to allow photographers of all levels to capture as many species of the birds of the Danube Delta as we can. Our Danube Delta holidays are generally conducted during Spring when the birds are most active.
Our photography holidays allow photographers to visit the Danube Delta & capture stunning images of the birdlife as they interact with each other, fish for prey & soar in the air.