New bird species spotted in Romania’s Agigea Sea Dunes reserve

Specialists of the Agigea Sea Dunes reserve and the Agigea Bird Observatory of the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (UAIC) announced on Friday having spotted a new species of bird in Romania.

Scientist Emanuel Stefan Baltag says the bird is the olive-tree warbler (Hippolais olivetorum) that nests in the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey, and in the autumn it migrates to sub-Saharan Africa to overwinter.

The olive-tree warbler (Hippolais olivetorum) is a small species, 16 – 18 cm, but this is the largest warbler in Europe.

“It is a dynamic species, gray in color, with a white, off-white ventral part. It feeds on insects that it catches in the crowns of trees and bushes. The presence of this species in Romania has not been certified until now, which leads us to say that Romania’s fauna has now become richer with one bird species. This discovery suggests, once again, the necessity of the existence and preservation of protected areas in Romania, as they surely shelter many species of birds, both in nesting periods, as well as during migration and during the winter season. Studies have shown that the higher and more diverse the number of species in a habitat, the sounder and more stable the habitat. Thus, it is imperative to get to know as well as possible the species with which we share the planet and the relationships between them,” says Baltag.

According to him, through this discovery, the Agigea Sea Dunes prove to be a genuine oasis of biodiversity, demonstrating the importance of green areas, even if they are surrounded by areas heavily modified by man. Therefore, preserving green areas near or in our towns for long periods of time will ensure a refuge for nature, allowing future generations to enjoy it.

The Agigea Sea Dunes protected natural area is located within the marine biological station Prof Dr Ioan Borcea belonging to the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (UAIC). Since April 2022, the National Agency for Protected Natural Areas together with UAIC has been implementing a project called “Implementation of active conservation measures on the premises of the Natura 2000 site ROSCI0073 Agigea Sea Dunes and of the Agigea Sea Dunes protected natural area of national interest,” financed under Operational Programme Large Infrastructure 2014 – 2021.

The project aims to implement the active conservation measures identified in the development of the management plan of the Agigea Sea Dunes protected natural area. The status of the protected natural area depends to a great extent on the immediate implementation of conservation measures, as the site has been affected over time by several infrastructure works (the construction of Constanta Port, the WWII defence system). Considering its central location, among the Black Sea tourist resorts, the project also aims to develop a strategy for educating the general public on the organisation, operation and importance of Black Sea coastal ecosystems.