Important Bird Areas of Ukraine
Working in partnership with Birdlife International, the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB) has its headquarters in Kiev, with local branches throughout Ukraine supported by thousands of birdwatchers and ornithologists. The primary aim of the USPB is the preservation of birds and their habitats, thereby conserving the biodiversity of Ukraine. The non-governmental non-profit organization undertakes a number of key activities to achieve their goals, one of which is to identify and monitor Important Bird Areas (IBA) through a network of caretakers and coordinators.
The USPB has established IBA programs in 26 regions of Ukraine since 1996. Of the 466 territories that were examined, 176 met the criteria for Important Bird Areas making them eligible for inclusion in BirdLife’s IBA World Bird Database. Moreover, a network of caretakers and coordinators has been established to monitor the identified sites. Identified threats at twelve IBAs have been minimized, with ecological conditions at seven IBAs improving dramatically thanks to environmental conservation efforts. National action plans to protect 17 species considered to be globally threatened have been drawn up and published. The USPB has also published a field guide detailing Birds of Ukraine.
Important Bird Areas in Ukraine include the Shatsky National Park in the Volyn region, which features 23 freshwater lakes, as well as meadows and forests of oak, pine alder and birch trees. Bird species found in the area include the Grey Goose (Anser anser), ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), meadow harrier (Circus pygargus), lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina), corncrake (Crex crex), Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), and aquatic warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola). Other IBAs in the Volyn region include a Valley in Bug West on the border of Ukraine and Poland, the Cheremsky swamp, and Orikhivsky Lake in the valley of the Pripyat river.
The Polessky Nature Reserve in Zhytomyr region features swamps, small rivers, riverine meadows and mixed forest on sand. Birds found in this IBA include the eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca) and short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus). Also in the Zhytomyr region is the Ushomyrske Forest and the Novograd Volyn Forest. In the Kiev region, IBAs include the Dnieper-Teterevsky hunting area, the Kiev Reservoir, and the Rzhyschevske hunting area, the latter being home to the white-tailed eagle ( Haliaeetus albicilla).
Monitoring and preserving birdlife in a country as vast as Ukraine is no easy task, but with the help and cooperation of thousands of birding enthusiasts, the USPB is raising awareness that active conservation is necessary to protect the birds of Ukraine.