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Picture of the Lesser White-fronted Goose - Anser erythropus sitting in the grass


The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) is a long-distance Palearctic migrant, currently breeding discontinuously in the sub-arctic zone. The wintering/staging areas and migration routes are only partially known. The global population has declined rapidly since the middle of the 20th century. The decrease in numbers has been accompanied by fragmentation of the breeding range and is continuing to affect all populations, giving rise to fears that the species may go extinct. Overhunting and habitat loss are considered to be the main threats. BirdLife International estimates a decrease in numbers in the range of 30% to 49% in the last 20 years (Jones et al. 2008, Rozenfeld 2011).

Read more about Lesser White-fronted Goose here.


Picture of the flying Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca with the blue sky in the background


The Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) has suffered a rapid decline in Europe in recent decades and is now very rare or extinct in many areas. It is known to be increasing only in Hungary, thanks to specific conservation programs. The population is stable but not increasing. The species is endangered especially by human activities. One of the main factors of mortality is electrocution, relevant especially for juveniles (Bagyura et al. 2002, Nagy & Demeter 2006, Karyakin et al. 2009). Proximity to nests of non-insulated medium-voltage poles poses a fatal risk for many young and inexperienced birds with lower ability to fly, as they try to take off or land on poles (APLIC 2006).

Read more about Imperial Eagle here.


Picture of The Great Bittern - botaurus stellaris sitting in the grass


There are only small breeding populations of Bitterns in most EU and other European countries. Half of it declined between 1970 and 1990 (BirdLife 2004). Loss and deterioration in the quality of wetland habitats are mainly responsible. The Bittern is a ‘SPEC 3’ species, indicating that its populations are not concentrated in Europe but that it has an unfavorable conservation status in Europe. It is a declining breeding species that are dependent on reedbeds, a scarce, specialized habitat. If action is not taken to reverse the declining trend, the species could become extinct in a number of European countries.

Read more about Great Bittern here.

Picture of the swimming Red-breasted Goose - Branta ruficollis


This species has a moderately small population which appears to be declining over a short time period. Wetlands International increased its global population estimate from c. 44,000 to c. 56,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2019). Deliberate hunting of birds occurs in Russia and Kazakhstan (Rozenfeld 2011), and results from a recent tagging study suggest mortality owing to hunting could be very high (up to 40%). Some key feeding sites have been lost in Bulgaria. Hunting pressure is also substantial in Bulgaria and Romania, including illegal shooting at Red-breasted Goose. Climate change and associated habitat shifts are expected to impact negatively on this species and others dependent on tundra habitat for breeding (Zöckler & Lysenko 2000).

Read more about Red-breasted Goose here.

Picture of the Greater Spotted Eagle - Clanga clanga sitting on the branch


The population in Europe is entirely migratory. The world population of this eagle was estimated at less than 4,000 breeding pairs. This species has a small population that appears to be declining owing to extensive habitat loss and persistent persecution. Other key threats as poaching and electrocution can be considered important.

Read more about Greater Spotted Eagle here

Picture of the flying Lesser Spotted Eagle - Clanga pomarina with the blue sky in the background


The Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina) is a migratory species. In Europe, it has suffered a major decline in many countries, especially at the western and southern borders of its range. It is now very rare or extinct in many areas, e.g. Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Serbia, and large parts of Greece. One of the factors of mortality is electrocution.

Read more about Lesser Spotted Eagle here.

Picture of the European Roller - Coracias garrulus sitting on the branch


The European roller (Coracias garrulus) was a common breeder in the Danube basin (Bohuš 2002, 2011) and a decline started from the 1950s. The use of pesticides (mostly against different Orthoptera- species) was an important factor in the extinction (Kiss & Tokody, 2017). Following a moderate decline during 1970-1990, the species has continued to decline by up to 25% across Europe during 1990-2000. Overall European declines exceeded 30% in three generations (15 years). Data of electrocuted European rollers at power lines have been reported in Csibrány 2016, Demerdzhiev et al. 2014, Demeter et al. 2018).

Read more about European roller here

Picture of the Corn Crake - Crex crex sitting in the grass


The species has consequently been reclassified as Least Concern because global population declines to approach 30% (predicted in 2004) have not taken place, and there is little evidence to suggest that they will do so in the next 11 years. The reclassification has taken place on the basis of improved knowledge of the species' global extinction risk, as opposed to a genuine recovery to favorable conservation status across its range. The species remains a high conservation priority in significant parts of its range, and continued conservation interventions, research, and monitoring are essential (BirdLife 2019). This migratory bird is avoiding large wetlands and prefers wet meadows and grasslands. The threat is also collision, especially during migration (Shobrak 2011).

Read more about Corn Crake here.


Picture of the flying Saker Falcon - Falco cherrug with the blue sky in the background


The Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug) qualifies as globally endangered because it has undergone a very rapid population decline, particularly on the central Asian breeding grounds, owing to inadequately controlled capture for the falconry trade. The estimated total European population of the species is 450 pairs. Hungary and Slovakia hold 40% of it. Therefore conservation of the population in the Carpathian Basin was subject to several previous projects. Electrocution is known to be a primary agent of mortality for 7–10% of juvenile Saker Falcons (Kovács et al. 2014). Under the LIFE Danube Free Sky project, 20 nest boxes will be installed for The Saker Falocn to support the breeding opportunities. 

Read more about Saker Falcon here

Picture of The Red-footed Falcon - Falco vespertinus sitting on the branch


The European population of 30,300-63,400 pairs (forming 30% of the global population) (BirdLife International 2015) suffered a large decline during 1970-1990 (Tucker & Heath 1994) and continued to decline during 1990-2000. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction. The European population (forming 30% of the global population) is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in 17.1 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015). One of the factors of mortality is electrocution (Fidlóczky et al. 2014, Demeter et al. 2018). Under the LIFE Danube Free Sky project, 50 nest boxes will be installed for The Red-footed Falcon to support breeding opportunities. 

Read more about Red-footed Falcon here.

Picture of the Great Bustard Otis tarda standing on the grass


The global population was previously estimated to number 44,000-57,000 individuals. This species has suffered rapid population reductions across most of its range owing to the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of its habitat, as well as hunting. Key threats are increased habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss due to agricultural intensification, land-use changes, and infrastructure development. Collisions with power lines are a serious threat for the species (Janss & Ferrer 2000, Raab et al. 2010), in some countries (e.g. Slovakia) this factor even contributed to the rapid decline and extinction of local populations. 

Read more about Great Bustard here

Picture of the Dalmatian pelican - Pelecanus crispus in the lake


The population was previously estimated to number 4,350-4,800 individuals in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Despite several previous conservation measures, the population in Romania dropped by 40% to present 180-250 breeding pairs. Former declines were primarily caused by wetland drainage, shooting, and persecution by fishers (Mix and Bräunlich 2000). Cases of illegal shooting are still reported (e.g. four shootings in 2009 in the Danube Delta). Collisions and electrocution are important mortality factors (Crivelli et al. 1988).

Dalmatian Pelicans are one of the largest freshwater birds. Find out more about this spectacular species in this video made by Avi Birds:

*Dalmatian Pelican is globally listed as „Near threatened“. 

For more information about Dalmatian Pelican read here.


Official logo of the Nationalpark Donau-auen in Austria Official logo of the Österreichische Bundesbahnen - Austrian railway company Official logo of the Slovak electricity transmission system, Plc. company Official logo of the Energy distributor for the Western Slovakia Official logo of the Raptor Protection of Slovakia Official logo of MAVIR - energy distribution company in Hungary Official logo of the HEP-Distribution system operator ltd. in Croatia Official logo of the HOPS  - Croatian Transmission System Operator company
Official logo of the Kopački Rit national park in Croatia Official logo of the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia Official logo of the Elektrodistribucija Srbije Ltd. Belgrade (electricity distributor company in Serbia) Official logo of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds Official logo of the CEZ Distribution Bulgaria AD - energy distribution company Official logo of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority - national park in Romania Official logo of the E-Distribuție Dobrogea - energy distribution company in Romania

LIFE Programme

The LIFE DANUBE FREE SKY project has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union. More info.

Natura 2000

The LIFE DANUBE FREE SKY project is part of nature conservation and biodiversity projects in Natura 2000. More info.

Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic

The LIFE Danube Free Sky project is co-financed by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic.

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