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More Than A Mountain

Mountain Durmitor

Area in hectares: 39,000
Altitude: 530 – 2,523 m
Conservation status: National park since 1952; MAB since 1977; Emerald site under the Bern convention; UNESCO since 1980; IBA since 2001
Coordinates: 43o09’16.67”N; 19o07’27.33”E


National Park Durmitor is located in the northwest part of the country and covers the area of high mountains, planes and deep canyons. The Tara River Canyon is located in the Park (the highest depth of the canyon is 1,300 m), as well as canyons of rivers Komarnica, Grabovica, Sušica and some small rivers. Mountain Durmitor massif includes more than 40 peaks over 2,000 m altitude and the massif has 18 glacial lakes. Durmitor is the biggest ski center in the country.


On the Mountain Durmitor, 172 bird species have been registered so far. Of that number, 125 species are breeders. The latest research showed that 127 bird species have been registered inside the borders of the Park and the Tara Canyon, of which 112 species were breeders. Significant number of breeders in the Park, due to whom it has been granted the status of the IBA in 2001 are: Pernis apivorus, Circaetus gallicus, Aquila chrysaetos, Falco tinnunculus, Falco peregrinus, Alectoris graeca, Perdix perdix, Coturnix coturnix, Tetrao urogallus, Bubo bubo, Otus scops, Aegolius funereus, Caprimulgus europaeus, Picoides tridactylus, Picus canus, P. viridis, Lullula arborea, Alauda arvensis, Turdus torquatus, Saxicola rubetra, Monticola saxatilis, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Lanius minor, Lanius collurio, Certhia brachydactyla, Tichodroma muraria, Montifringilla nivalis, Eremophila alpestris, Parus monatus, Pyrrhocorax graculus, Nucifraga caryocatactes, Emberiza cirlus and Emberiza cia. There are also Columba palumbus, Strix aluco, Dendrocopos syriacus, Prunella modularis, Erithacus rubecula, Luscinia megarhynchos, Turdus philomelos, Sylvia communis, Regulus regulus, Parus cristatus, Carduelis cannabina and Emberiza citrinella. On the Mountain Durmitor there is a cron crake, Crex crex breeding (a significant number for Montenegro).


18 mountain lakes, more than 40 rocky peaks above 2,000 m altitude, dense forests of fir, beech forests, pine habitat and the spacious plateau of Durmitor, are habitats which characterise this mountain. Recent research of the flora of Durmitor and surrounding canyons found more than 1,700 plant species. About 900 species make for high mountain flora, which inhabit the area above 1,500 m altitude. As for the characteristic birds, this habitat can be divided into: high mountain rocky ground, rocks and cliffs, high mountain lakes, wet meadows, pastures, glades, high mountain evergreen forests and mixed coniferous – deciduous forests. Every one of these habitats has its own specific ornythofauna: high and steep hillside, and rocky areas are home to mountain pipits and horned larks, mountain sparrow and wallcreepers, while the highest and most inaccessible cliffs are home to breeding alpine choughs and golden eagle; forests are home to breeding of numerous songbirds, like coal tit, Parus ater, black woodpecker, Dryocopus martius, red crossbill, Nuthatch, then the birds of the family of hen: grouse, hazel grouse; raptors: Eurasian sparrowhawk, buzzard, Eurasian hobby, Falco Subbuteo; honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus. The pastures and wet meadows are habitats to crested larks, Galerida cristata; quails, Coturnix coturnix; corn crakes, Crex Crex; and on the lakes and riparian vegetation we can register the mallard, common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula; little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis; water rail, Rallus aquaticus and others.


Researching ornythofauna until 1990, 163 bird species were registered on Durmitor. Ten years later, almost 40 species which had been registered in the late 80’s of the last century were not registered on Durmitor. The changes were especially noticed with wood species, which speaks of drastical cutting (legal and illegal) on this mountain. Lake tourism chased away the Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula, which has not been breeding on Durmitor for 50 years. Crno (Black) Lake does not have any water nesting birds. For 40 years now, there is not even the breeding black grouse, Tetrao tetrix, on Durmitor and all the vultures and red-billed choughs have gone. Today, the most vulnerable are the kinds associated with the forest: grouse, owls, three-toed woodpecker and others. Birds are paying toll because of legal and illegal urbanisation, poor management and harvesting in the mountain. The survival of many of them is questionable.

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