Learn about the birds from Danube Delta and their behaviour

Learn about the birds from Danube Delta and their behaviour

Welcome to see the birds from Danube Delta


On Tulcea County’s territory in the south-east part of Romania.


Reserve Administration, Tulcea City, Portului Street, No. 34A


2540 km² on Romania’s territory (total 3446 km²)


Tulcea, county’s capital is the main starting point to explore Danube Delta. Another smaller city is Murighiol (commune).

Foundation year:



+40 240 518924





When to go:

May – September, to have the best period when fauna and flora are rich in species.

How to get here:

By car:

You can get by car only till Tulcea or Murighiol at your preference. To get to Tulcea see the article Tulcea City (main roads are E87 and DN22A) and for Murighiol you can go on the National Road DN222C through Beştepe and Mahmudia or from south through Enisala and Valea Nucarilor.

By train:

To get here by train or plane, Tulcea City is the best option. You will find details on Tulcea City page.

By means of transport:

The main transportation form in Danube Delta is a boat or ship, where most of the locals have one at home.

Birds from Danube Delta


In this article we will try to present you the most important species of birds from Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve because they offer each time a beautiful show to any visitor who is coming here. Once with this journey we’ve made with our group of friends in our beautiful natural reservation, we were very impressed of what we saw even if the season was nearly finished and many of the birds which live here during summer, were already gone. We remind you that in Danube Delta you have to choose one of the hundreds of trips by boat offered by different companies or even by private people. In this fauna paradise, over 330 species of birds come here during summer to eat and to find a partner and nest. The migratory birds start to come in Danube Delta from all over the world, either from Asia, Siberia, Arctic Ocean or even from Africa. Some of the species of birds from Danube Delta either temporarily or permanently, we tried to present here:

The White Pelican and Dalmatian Pelican – birds from Danube Delta


Known as the symbol of Danube Delta, the biggest part of this species together with the Dalmatian Pelican, choose to live the biggest part of their lives here. It’s a quite endangered species and because of that is protected by law, today, existing only a few thousand species in all Europe. Their main food is fish which are captured flying above the water and diving to catch the fish situated in a shallow water. Both the White Pelican and Dalmatian Pelican are big birds which seem to be heavy, but even if they can’t sink, they fly very easy with the help of their huge wings. They have a large and slow beating of wings and then for a period they float over the water. Pelicans are usually recognized by their big bill of yellow-orange color of which is attached a bag in which the fish are kept before being swallowed.  (Find more journeys on blog.worldlifetimejourneys.com) They usually weight between 8-10 kg. As migratory species, they come here at the beginning of spring and in May they hatch their eggs (2-3). In October the majority will go back in the Nile Delta in North Africa.

Pelicans flying above Uzlina Lake in Danube Delta

Pelicans flying above Uzlina Lake in Danube Delta

The Pygmy Cormorant and Big Cormorant – birds from Danube Delta


The Pygmy Cormorant is 48 cm tall in comparison with the Big Cormorant which is nearly double of 90 cm. Both species have a dark color (black-brown) and their food is the fish which is caught by sinking in the water from low heights. It is easy to be recognized after its color but mostly when is not swimming, not nesting or eating because most of the times we can find cormorants on the tree branches on low heights above the water. They are birds which don’t fly quickly when somebody is approaching, so you can get closer with your boat before they fly away. Together with the pelicans, ducks and geese, Cormorants are the most photographed species from Danube Delta. Both Pygmy and Big Cormorants, hatch in April a number of 3-5 eggs and they make their nests usually close to other bird’s nests. Compared to pelicans, they choose either to spend the winter season in the south part of Black Sea or in the north part of Mediterranean Sea.

A silent cormorant in Danube Delta, birds from Danube Delta

A silent cormorant in Danube Delta

The Big Duck – birds from Danube Delta


In the Danube Delta live several species of ducks like tufted ducks, red ducks, big ducks, grey head ducks, Shoveler ducks and others. Among these species, the most frequent is the big duck which is considered the ancestor of domestic duck and it has a height of 50-60 cm. It’s a permanent species from Danube Delta with a wingspan of nearly 1 m. Males and females are very well distinguished, the male color is brighter, on the head is green and the female is usually dull brown color and with black and white spots. Also in April like many birds present here, they hatch in a nest made on the floor, 6-14 eggs and the chick ducks have usually a yellow with brown color. It’s a species found all over in delta near to reeds and they eat fish.

Lots of ducks are living temporarly or permanently in Danube Delta

Lots of ducks are living temporarily or permanently in Danube Delta

The Grey Heron – birds from Danube Delta


Here are living many species of herons in this paradise of birds like Red Herons, Night Herons, Yellow Herons, but the best known is the Grey Heron which is the most numerous species of herons from Danube Delta and from Europe. It’s very easy to recognize due to its size (96 cm) and it has a dark grey color with black spots on the back and a white chest. (Find more journeys on blog.worldlifetimejourneys.com) Like other birds, they choose carefully the nesting place far from other birds, usually in dense reed where in April they hatch between 4-5 eggs. They eat fish and it is usually a migratory species which at the beginning of winter fly at high altitudes towards the south part of Europe or North Africa.

Danube Delta's Great Heron

Danube Delta’s Great Heron

The Spoonbill – birds from Danube Delta


The Spoonbill bird considered a natural monument and is a protected species also rare in Europe and in Danube Delta. Its size is around 88 cm and the color is usually bright, cream-colored with orange spots. It can be recognized about its long and flat bill and its food is composed by fish, frogs and other amphibians, but also crustaceans, insects and worms which are found in a shallow water, but especially in the muddy soil. With the beginning of May, the female hatches a number of 4-5 eggs and the baby birds come out after one month. The nests are made in the reed or even in low shrubs. With the beginning of autumn they migrate to the south where they spend their winter usually in the Nile Delta.

birds danube delta lopatarA spoonbill from Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve

The White-tailed Eagle – birds from Danube Delta


The White-tailed Eagle one of the raptors from Danube Delta and one of the best known and widely spread from here. It has 70-90 cm in length and its color is dark brown with black spots on the wings but the head and tail are white. They usually fly on high altitudes and the net is built in a high, hard accessible place, where once in 1-2 years they hatch maximum 2 eggs. It’s also the biggest raptor bird from here feeding with fish, amphibians, but also with ducks, rabbits and other rodents. The most common places where is found are in Letea and Caraorman forests. It’s a migratory species, protected by law due to its rarity and because is endangered. During summer is found in Delta and in autumn starts to migrate to Mediterranean Sea.

A white-tailed eagle is hard to see in Danube Delta, but here's one in captivity

A white-tailed eagle is hard to see in Danube Delta, but here’s one in captivity

The White Stork – birds from Danube Delta


The white storks are very common in Romania and beginning of the spring in Danube Delta they are numerous. Storks are easy to recognize birds due to their white color with black, the red and long bill, but especially because they build their nests from branches, grass, soil and roots on a high place, either on piles, trees, chimneys or other high places hard to reach. (Find more journeys on blog.worldlifetimejourneys.com) Also they are known for the wings movement when they fly and for the slow flight with stretched head and throat. During spring, in the carefully created nest, the female lay downs between 3 and 5 eggs which both parents hatch. The main food is fish but they also eat amphibians, insects and small animals. Because is a migratory bird, during autumn prefers to fly in flocks to North Africa.

A solitary white stork in Danube Delta

A solitary white stork in Danube Delta

The Swan – birds from Danube Delta


The swan is a very common bird spread all over the world and in Danube Delta is high in number. Its color is an impeccably white, the bill is red and it has some black spots around the eyes. They are big birds and weight even 12 kg. Due to their body and because are heavy, flying is not so easy and need more space to fly. Once in the air, the swans are flying in V-shaped flocks. The swan is also a good swimmer and it benefits from this to catch fish through its fast movements. It feeds also with different plants. They are solitary birds which prefer not to share the territory with other species and they build the nests in higher areas from the reed. Here the female in May lay downs and hatch 4-6 eggs. The swans are birds which are used with the cold weather and sometimes during winter they stay here. But in harsher winters they prefer to migrate in the Mediterranean Sea area, usually in North Africa.

Swans are popular around the world and here also in Danube Delta

Swans are popular around the world and here also in Danube Delta

The Little and Big Egret – birds from Danube Delta


The Little Egret is the best known and best spread in Danube Delta, both having a perfect white color with a long and sharp bill. Regarding the Little Egret, its bill is black and the Big Egret has a red-orange color bill. Its size is 55-60 cm comparatively with the big one which has 90 cm. Both species live in mix colonies in the willows, shrubs and reed next to the water areas where they build also their nests. Here between April and May the female hatch between 3 and 5 eggs. Egrets are also known due to their beautiful ornamental feathers known as egret and which appear on their back head during reproduction. (Find more journeys on blog.worldlifetimejourneys.com) Their main food is composed by fish, crustaceans, insects and worms. In late autumn they migrate to warmer areas around Mediterranean Sea.

A Big Egret in Danube Delta, birds from Danube Delta

A Big Egret in Danube Delta

A Little Egret in Danube Delta, birds from Danube Delta

A Little Egret in Danube Delta

The Shelduck – birds from Danube Delta


The Shelduck is a similar species with the duck, less known in Romania, but of a rare beauty. Its color is mix: the bill is red, the chest is white, the head and wings are dark green to black and the belly is a mix of white with brown. It is a medium size bird (approximate 60 cm) with the wings opening of more than 1 m and approximately 1 kg in weight. The reproduction period is in spring. Between May and June in a nest built in small holes or abandoned lairs the female lay downs and hatch usually 8-12 eggs. Its food is composed by insects, worms and fish. Because is a migratory species, if the winters in Danube Delta are harsher, they fly in flocks to the west part of Europe, in warmer places around the Mediterranean Sea or Nile Delta where they choose to spend their winter.

One of the shelducks from Danube Delta

One of the shelducks from Danube Delta

danube delta biosphere reserveDanube Delta Biosphere Reserve


Learn about the birds from Danube Delta and their behaviour
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Learn about the birds from Danube Delta and their behaviour
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Learn about the birds from Danube Delta and their behaviour
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