Lake Skadar

National Park Lake Skadar. © Center for Protection and Research of Birds of Montenegro (CZIP)
Aerial view from Lake Skadar. © Center for Protection and Research of birds of Montenegro

Names in the national language

Liqen i Shkodrës (Albania)

Skadarsko Jezero (Montenegro)


Location and short description

Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkan peninsula with a surface between 345 to 505 km2 (depending on the flood level) and an average depth of 5 m. Two thirds of the lake belong to Montenegro and the rest to Albania. The lake has an abundance of rare plants and animals that makes it an important part of Europe’s natural heritage. The lake also holds a rich history and culture, as evidenced by numerous archaeological sites, medieval buildings, fortifications and folk architecture (fishing villages, old bridges, mills and wells).


Special features

At the lake, about 281 species of birds live, nest, winter and roost. The most important breeding birds are the Dalmatian pelicans (Pelecanus crispus) and Pygmy cormorants (Microcarbo pygmaeus). Lake Skadar is the most western point of the Dalmatian pelican and the cormorant ranges. More than 2,000 bird pairs have been registered for the area, holding one of the largest colonies of the endangered species in the world. Additionally, 48 fish species, 50 mammal species - only water representative is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) - as well as numerous amphibians, reptiles and insects exist in the area. Moreover, the lake and its surroundings host a high diverse plant life, including water lily meadows.


Main biotop types

Wet meadows, water crowfoot communities, Chandalier algae submerged carpets and riparian forests  



  • Mammals: Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)
  • Birds: Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Pygmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus), Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides), Little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca)
  • Fish: carp (Cyprinus carpio), bleak (Alburnus alburnus), eel (Anguilla anguilla), Skadar Rudd (Scardinius knezevici), Flathead gray mullet (Mugil cephalus), Skadar goby (Pomatoschistus montenegrensis)
  • Amphibians: Albanian water frog (Pelophylax shqipericus)
  • Reptiles: The sharp-snouted rock lizard (Lacerta oxycephala)
  • Plants: Yellow water-lily (Nuphar lutea)


Status of protection

Habitat/Species Management Area, Natural Park, IBA, Ramsar Site (Albania)

National Park Lake Skadar, IBA, IPA, Ramsar Site (Montenegro)

Lake Skadar

Nearest city:
Shkodra (Albania)
Podgorica (Montenegro)


National Agency of Protected Areas / RAPA Shkoder (Albania)
Email: info(at)

National Parks of Montenegro
Email: npcg(at)

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