Lake Shkodra

Shkoder  >  Albania

One of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species. Lake Shkodra is a sanctuary for 1.5 to 2.5 million birds each year.

Added* by Denik Ulqini
Most recent update 2 December 2020


Lake Shkodra lies on the border of Albania and Montenegro, and is the largest lake in Southern Europe. The lake's water level varies seasonally from 4.7 to 9.8 m above sea level. which attracts many birds. The lake is one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having 270 bird species. Half of them are migratory birds, while the other part builds their nests along the lake shore. The lake is a sanctuary for 1.5 to 2.5 million birds each year. Due to the incredible biodiversity attracted by the lake’s mix of habitats and the need for conservation, Lake Shkodra was added to the List of Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention in 1996. Maybe the most special bird is the rare Dalmatian Pelican. Shkodra Lake is known for its evergreen colors. The water surface offers excellent grounds for thousands of wintering waterbirds whose population is dominated by diving species including Pygmy Cormorant, Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Common Goldeneye and Eurasian Coot. The surrounding of the lake is covered with riparian forests and wet meadows offering both excellent roosting, nesting sites and feeding sites for numerous passerines. The water lilies create a meadow of leaves and flowers used as nesting sites by thousands of Whiskered Tern. Its Mediterranean rocky hinterland, olive groves and scrub are home to species including Rock Partridge, Olive-tree Warbler and Black-eared Wheatear. Among the birds of prey that can be seen are Short-toed Snake Eagle and Golden Eagle.



There are frequent busses from Tirana to Lake Shkodra, a 2-hour drive. Buses also run to/from Ulcinj in the southernmost part of Montenegro. From the Valbona valley you have bus connections to Bajram Curri, a town near the border with Kosovo. If you have your own transport click on the P in the map to get directions to the parking spot. Froms this point you can make a walk along the shore of Lake Shkodra.

Terrain and Habitat



Flat , Open landscape

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

All year round

Best time to visit

Winter , Spring , Autumn migration , Spring migration


Paved road

Difficulty walking trail


Accessible by

Foot , Bicycle , Car

Birdwatching hide / platform


View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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Comments & Tips

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