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Location Albania, Shkodër
Central coordinates 19o 26.00' East  41o 52.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 1,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Site description The site includes two coastal areas: the Viluni (or Velipoja lagoon) (390 ha) and surrounding Velipoja Game Reserve (694 ha); and the inland Dumi wetland (Keneta e Dumit) comprising a large reedbed. Viluni lagoon is a large, shallow coastal lagoon at the feet of a rocky and forested mountain area (Bregulbunes mountains). The surrounding marshes and the Dumi wetland are drained by a channel. Sand-dunes, beaches and small brackish pools are found along the coastline, while along the Buna river and its delta (to the north and within the IBA) there is riparian deciduous woodland. The main land-uses are hunting, fishing, agriculture and tourism.

Key Biodiversity Herons, Platalea leucorodia and Phalacrocorax pygmeus used to breed inside the reserve, close to the mouth of the Buna river, but they no longer do so, probably due to increased illegal disturbance and wood-cutting inside the reserve. The birds now breed on Ada island, on the Montenegro side of the river, but still use the habitat on the Albanian side for feeding. The site is also important for wintering waterfowl (max. 8,000 individuals in 1993) and for migratory waterbirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  1996  49 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  1996  33-62 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  1996  3 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Buna river-Velipoja wetland complex Protected Landscape 23,027 protected area contains site 1,500  
Velipoja Managed Nature Reserve 700 protected area contained by site 700  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland  20%
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis; Scrub  15%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing brackish and salt water; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  10%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Forestry plantations  10%
Coastline Lagoons; Sand dunes & beaches  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 5%
fisheries/aquaculture 25%
forestry 20%
hunting 60%
military 20%
tourism/recreation 5%

Protection status National Partial International None694 ha of IBA covered by Game Reserve (694 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Velipoja. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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