News from Egypt from Sharif Baha El Din, OSME Vice-President

Ecological changes in the Nile Delta wetlands over the past several decades have led to dramatic changes in the local breeding avifauna. With reduced salinity, and increased abundance of reeds and the establishment of a vast matrix of fish farms many species have found new opportunities, while some have declined in numbers.

In a survey this spring of Lake Burullus, very large breeding colonies of mixed heron species totalling some 12,000 nests were found. These included an estimated 4,200 Squacco Heron nests, 3,000 Cattle Egret nests, 2,400 Little Egret nests and 2,400 Night Heron nests. At least 3,000 pairs of Whiskered Terns were found nesting.

Some new breeders include European Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier and probably Purple Heron. Species like Kentish and Kittlitz’s Plovers, Little Tern, Lesser Short-toed Lark and Egyptian Nightjar seem to have declined. In total some 40,000 birds were counted on the lake and its environs.

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