Flora & Fauna
This subtropical climate and long flowering period extending from March to October has created a biodiversity hot spot like no other. A large surface of the the lake is covered with floating vegetation (Nuphar luteum, Nymphea alba, Trapa natans, Nymphoides pelata, Potamogeton natans) and submerged vegetation nestled in a shallow and sandy floor: Naias marina, Potamogeton perfoliatus, Myriophillum spicatum, Chara sp. Nitell sp., Utrikularia vulgaris and others. The lake is home to numerous invertebrates, amphibian and fish species. The most famous fish is Carp (cyprinus carpio), a symbol of fertility and devoted to goddess of Aphrodite.
The different habitats found at Lake Skadar attract an incredible range of wildlife and provide one of the five most important birding sites in Europe. Around 73 bird species nest on the lake, 18 bird species will use wetlands on their migratory route and 45 bird species use the lake during the winter.
The most famous of Skadar Lake residents is rare curly Dalmatian Pelican colonies (Pelecanus crispus); the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) (the biggest world colony of approximately 2000 bird pairs); the Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus); The Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo); the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca); the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla); as well as several hundreds of Grey Heron (Ardea ralloides). There are five ornithological reserves at Skadar Lake: Manastirska tapija, Grmozur, Omerova gorica, Crni zar, Pancevo oko. Since 1995 it has been a designated Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention as a habitat for water birds. In 2015 it became an EMERALD candidate site looking forward to becoming part of Natura 2000 in the near future.
The surrounding hinterland is home to many plants and animals. The flooded north plains are richly covered in soft wood flood plain forests of white willow (Salisetum albae). Southern kras hill tops are covered with oak forests (Quercus robursladuna a, Querceto castanetum montenegrinum and Quercetum cerris), chestnut (Castanea sativa). The lake is also famous for its medicinal plants and wild orchids. Water chestnut, known locally as “Kasoronj” (Trapa Longicurpa) is only found on the lake.
Wild tortoises, otters (Lutra Lutra), lizards, amphibians, snakes, lynx , foxes, wolves and even wild boar all make their home in and around the lake. In total around 5o mammals are found in the lakes vicinity. Many of the species are endemic.
Needles to say most of the species and habitats are still poorly explored and undocumented.