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No. 22: National reports from the 2012 breeding census of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in parts of the Western Palearctic

Bregnballe, T., Lynch, J., Parz-Gollner, R., Marion, L., Volponi, S., Paquet, J-Y. & van Eerden, M.R. (eds.) 2013. National reports from the 2012 breeding census of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in parts of the Western Palearctic. IUCN-Wetlands International Cormorant Research Group Report. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 106 pp. Technical Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy No. 22. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/TR22.pdf


This report is a compilation of national reports from 23 of the countries that conducted national surveys of the sizes and distribution of breeding colonies of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo in parts of the Western Palearctic in 2012 (though one country covered only in 2011). The national surveys were conducted in coordination with the Pan-European project 'Cormorant counts in the Western Palearctic', which is a collaborative project between the IUCN/Wetlands International Cormorant Research Group and the European Commission project ‘CorMan’ contracted by Aarhus University, Denmark and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, United Kingdom.

The count project provided support and guidance on methods of how to monitor the breeding colonies and developed a web-based tool for entering results and denoting locations of breeding colonies by use of Google Maps. The coordinators from the overall project were responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with national coordinators in each of the participating countries.

The results presented here are based on nest counts in 755 breeding colonies. For all the countries, except for Iceland, the monitored breeding birds belong to the continental subspecies P. c. sinensis. The birds breeding in Iceland belongs to the nominate subspecies P. c. carbo. Each of the national presentations includes descriptions of the total size of the breeding population and presents information about numbers, sizes and distribution of breeding colonies. Information includes the extent of human intervention in the breeding colonies.

The countries included in the present report had the following numbers of occupied nests and colonies, given in order of descending numbers of breeders:  Sweden - 40,598 nests in 169 colonies; Denmark - 27,237 nests in 64 colonies; Poland - 26,600 nests in 54 colonies; Germany - 22,550 in 150 colonies; Finland - 17,208 nests in 40 colonies; Estonia - 13,000 in 18 colonies; Greece - 6,978 nests in 13 colonies; Iceland - 4,772 nests in 49 colonies; Russian part of the Gulf of Finland - 4,605 nests in 7 colonies; Italy - 3,914 nests in 48 colonies; Belarus - 3,250 nests in 20 colonies; Lithuania - 3,200 nests in 6 colonies; Latvia -3,106 nests in 9 colonies; Bulgaria - 2,775 nests in 15 colonies; Norway - 2,500 nests in 14 colonies; Serbia - 2,000 nests in 15 colonies; Spain - 1,605 nests in 21 colonies; Belgium - 1,584 nests in 28 colonies; Croatia - 1,331 nests in 2 colonies; Montenegro - 1,156 nests in 1 colony; Switzerland – 1,037 nests in 13 colonies; Bosnia and Herzegovina - 154 nests in 2 colonies; Austria - 65 nests in 3 colonies. No cormorants were recorded breeding in Portugal, Luxembourg and Slovenia in 2012.

The IUCN/Wetlands International Cormorant Research Group will, together with the CorMan project, publish a second report before the end of 2013. The second report will present an overview of all the results from the breeding counts and it will include a comparison with results from a Pan-European survey of breeding colonies in 2006. The second report will also include national reports from countries that were unable to meet the deadline for the present report or had to postpone their survey of breeding colonies to 2013.