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Cursed Mountains

Mountain Prokletije

Areas in hectares: 17,000
Altitude: 900-2,528 m
Conservation status: National park since 2009; Emerald site under the Bern convention
Coordinates: 42°33’29.14″N; 19°54’48.54″E
IBA criteria: A3, B2, B3


Prokletije is one of the most complex mountain groups on the Balkan Peninsula. Part of the Mountain Prokletije in Montenegro is bordered with rivers Cijevna, Lim and Ibar. Its main ridge is over 70 km long, with the highest peak in Montenegro – Kolac, 2,528 m of altitude. The Central part of this predominantly mountainous area is the Plav – Gusinje valley. It is, as an integral part of the Mountain Prokletije, surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks that are considered as most giant mountain grounds of the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. The complex of the Mountain Prokletije is characterised by many mountain groups, like: Bogićevica, Ujkov krš, Maja karanfili, Vezirova brada, Maja podgajs, Popadija, Trojan and others.


On the Mountain Prokletije, 161 bird species have been registered so far, which have a different status: residents, breeding, wintering, migratory, passers-by. There are 80 species of resident breeding; 44 of migratory breeding; 13 of passers-by; eight of dispersing (stray); four wintering species. Prokletije is a center for breeding raptors in Montenegro, and numerous high-mountain species: European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus; short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus; golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos; peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus; Rock partrige, Alectoris graeca; scops owl, Otus scops; Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo; European nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus; woodlark, Lullula arborea; alpine accentor, Prunella collaris; common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis; ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus; wallcreeper, Tichodroma muraria; red backed shrike, Lanius collurio; alpine chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus; white winged snowfinch, Montifringilla nivalis; cirl bunting, Emberiza cirlus; rock bunting, Emberiza cia, and many others. The Mountain Prokletije is an important breeding site for more than 43% of the total bird fauna registered in Montenegro, and also the most important bird habitat in the continental part of the country. If we take into the account the discontinuity in research during winter, spring and early autumn months, and the fact that the Kosovo part of the range has 179 species registered, it is likely that the Mountain Prokletije is the center of the mountainous bird diversity Montenegro.


The influence of the continental and Mediterranean climate, as well as the composition of the soil, made the Mountain Prokletije abundant in rich diversity of plant and animal congregation and numerous endemic representatives of flora and fauna. Alpine vegetation occurs at high altitudes; conifers are mixed with deciduous forests. Spruce, Picea is dominant; pine, Pinus; maple, Acer and beech, Fagus. In the hydrographical sense, the Mountain Prokletije is the richest region of the Balkan Peninsula. As important habitats in this massif, the following stand out: Plavsko and Ridsko Lake, valleys Grebaje, Ropojana, Jezerce, Zastan and Bogićevica and rivers Grlja, Ljuča, Dolja, Vruja and others. Important habitats for birds are the valleys of Grebaje and Ropojana in all seasons, and Jezerce in summer months. These are also the most open lowland fields and an excellent training ground for hunting prey. In the cliffs of all of the three valleys, there was breeding of the golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, registered, as well as the usual presence of the griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus, in Montenegro.


The Mountain Prokletije is without considering its level of economic development, endangered because of the anthropogenic influence, for example: irrational and intensive tree cutting, which leads to the erosion; river canyons full of garbage; inadequate exploitation of gravel; uncontrolled urbanisation of this area; uncontrolled hunting, especially of grouse and some raptors.

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