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Pelicans

Hundreds and thousands of beaky birds summer on the Ukrainian coastline and further into the mainland

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Southern Ukraine hosts pelicans every summer. These migratory birds arrive from equatorial Africa in March–April and depart for winter in September–October. You can encounter different pelican species across multiple spots in Mykolaivska (Mykolaiv) oblast and Odeska (Odesa) oblast.

Pelican spots in Ukraine

Kinburnskaya Kosa, Biloberezhzhia Sviatoslava, and Bug Guard National Park

Check out Kinburnskaya Kosa and Biloberezhzhia Sviatoslava at the Black Sea, or Bug Guard National Park in Hrushivka, Mykolaivs'ka oblast. Normally, these areas gather large pelicans colonies, numbering several hundred to several thousand individuals. You'll spot two species—Great white pelicans and Dalmatian pelicans. But local names differ—Rozhevyi pelican and Kucheriavyi pelican, literally meaning rosy and curly pelican. Here the birds appear in late March or early April and leave in September and October. Still, the greatest flocks congregate at the waterside between April and June.

Danube river and Tuzlovski Lagoons National Park

The estuary of the Danube River is home to the world's largest population of rosy pelicans. The only thing is that the birds prefer nesting along the Romanian part of the river rather than the Ukrainian one. The chicks learn to fly only in two and a half months. And most birds don't leave their nesting grounds until then. Yet, as soon as the youngsters can fly, the entire pelican families migrate to the Ukrainian Danube. Thus, the best time to observe pelicans in the Danube Biosphere Reserve is two last weeks of August. Additionally, you might visit Tuzlovski Lagoons National Park, likewise famous for the sheer number of rosy pelicans.

Black Sea Biosphere Reserve & Swan Islands

Other popular nesting grounds for pelicans include the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve and the Swan Islands (Lebedyni Ostrovy). But unfortunately, tourists aren't allowed to the reserve. Getting to the Swan Islands is also problematic so far as Russia claims the territory of Crimea. Luckily, the southern coastline of Ukraine has enough places to behold these noble birds.

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