Best time to travel to Ukraine

Pelicans in Ukraine

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

Best time: April–September


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.

Practical info

What is the pelican watching season in Ukraine?

Pelicans are found throughout the summers in Ukraine. Migrating birds would start arriving during March or April. The best time to spot them is during April through June. Although adults leave for colder regions by October, the Danube Biosphere Reserve tour in August, welcomes the world's largest civilization of Rosy pelicans. Show more

What are the best locations in Ukraine to sight pelicans?

Locations such as Kinburnskaya Kosa, Biloberezhzhia Sviatoslava, Bug Guard national park, Tuzlovski Lagoons national park, and the Danube River estuary are a few of Ukraine's popular pelican sighting areas. Around the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, visitors usually are not accepted. The Swan Islands, situated in Crimea, is challenging to reach as Russia claims the territory. Show more

How many pelican species breed in Ukraine? What are they called locally?

Ukraine manages to obtain two pelican species that are also large in number; Dalmatian pelican and Great White pelican. However, Ukrainians have an alternative local name for them called Kucheriavyi Pelican, meaning Curly Pelican, and Rozhevyi Pelican called Rosy Pelican. Show more

What are the Danube River Pelicans' unique aspects?

The Danube River inhabits the most significant number of Rosy pelicans globally. Nonetheless, here most of the birds nest at the Romanian part of the river. Once they learn to fly, the entire population migrates into the Ukrainian part. Pelican families remain more accessible around the final two weeks of August, encouraged the perfect time to visit the Danube Biosphere Reserve. Show more

What are the visit limitations at Swan Islands and Black Sea Biosphere Reserve for pelican watching?

Tourism is restricted at the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve, whereas the Swan Islands are a part of Crimea, making it tough to access them due to Russian territorial claims. Tourists must opt for Ukraine's southern shore to spot pelicans. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych