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Gornje Podunavlje Nature Reserve

Black Storks and Butterflies

  • Location: Bordering Kopački rit and the Danube-Dráva National Park, Province of Vojvodina, along the left bank of the Danube, northwestern Serbia
  • Size: 19,648 hectares
  • Established: 2001

A jet black stork struts in the placid swamps and marches, accompanied by two colourful butterflies dancing along. The numerous meanders, dead river branches, canals and ponds of the Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve formed as a result of continuous river dynamics.

Gornje Podunavljeis the largest floodplain area in Serbia. Together with Kopacki rit in Croatia and the Danube-Drava National Park in Hungary, the reserve forms a 70,000-hectare Central Danube Floodplain Area. It comprises two big marshes along the left bank of the Danube River - the Monostor and Apatin marsh and is a truly representative floodplain wetland.

River and flooding dynamics create an extraordinary mosaic in the beautiful landscape. Natural forests are a large part of the reserve that is well preserved and very attractive for wildlife. With its occasionally flooded wet meadows, numerous oxbow lakes and swamps which were once widespread in the Danube wetlands, it is one of the best preserved wetlands in the Danube River Basin. In the highest parts of Gornje Podunavlje, far from the water level, ancient alkaline grasslands can be found.

It is an area of important aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation, wet meadows and native lowland forests composed of willow, poplar, ash and oak trees. The area is rich with numerous fish species which find ideal spawning conditions in the oxbows and shallow shoals of the emanated river. And with up to 280 species of birds present in the area, Gornje Podunavlje is one of the most important bird sites on national and European levels. It comprises the most important parts of national breeding populations of the white-tailed eagle, the black stork, the black kite, the graylag goose and a vast concentration of waterbirds as well as rare and endangered mammals like the European otter and the wild cat. It has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA),an Important Plant Area (IPA) and a prime butterfly area because of its diverse butterfly population.

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