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Location Russia (European), Astrakhan region
Central coordinates 48o 32.98' East  45o 46.27' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2
Area 1,059,800 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Located in the southern part of Astrakhan region.

Key Biodiversity Immense numbers of waterbirds breed in the delta, including 56,800_pairs of herons (Ardeidae), cormorants Phalacrocorax, Plegadis falcinellus and Platalea leucorodia alone, although this total has decreased in recent years. During migration, a total of 7_million waterbirds pass through the area in spring, and 5--10_million in the autumn. The number of waterfowl overwintering in the delta depends on the severity of the weather, but can include important numbers of Cygnus cygnus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides breeding  1988  1,315-4,050 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B2  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba breeding  1988  4,640-5,250 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus breeding  1996  175 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Astrakhanskiy Zapovednik UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 97,816 protected area contained by site 66,816  
Astrakhansky Zapovednik 66,816 protected area contained by site 66,816  
Astrakhansky (Buffer Zone) Buffer Zone - Zapovednik 18,010 protected area contained by site 18,010  
Volga Delta Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 800,000 protected area contained by site 800,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  10%
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest  5%
Grassland Humid grasslands  20%
Coastline Lagoons; Mud flats & sand flats; Sand dunes & beaches; Tidal rivers & enclosed tidal waters  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 10%
fisheries/aquaculture 75%
forestry 10%
hunting 95%
nature conservation and research 5%
tourism/recreation 20%

Acknowledgements The identification of IBAs and information collected between 1980 and 2009 provided by the IBA network of the Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU).

References G.M.Rusanov, V.G.Krivenko, N.N.Moshonkin, I.E.Kamennova.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Volga Delta. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife