River Drava

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
The River Drava is the largest river to flow through Slovenia. Due to numerous development schemes in the past, the river and its flood-plains are now one of the most ecologically degraded waterways in the country. The IBA is located between Maribor and Središèe ob Dravi on the Croatian border. Along this section the river is exploited in full, with large reservoirs and associated channels dividing up the entirety of the riverine countryside. Between the reservoirs (Ptujsko jezero, Ormoško jezero) there are still some large flood-plains which are periodically inundated. Flooded woodlands with meadows and wet grasslands are also present.

Key biodiversity
The site supports important numbers of wintering waterbirds (at the reservoirs) and of breeding birds of flooded forest, meadows, and gravel-banks, and is also an important bird-migration route. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Phalacrocorax pygmeus (max. 37 on passage), Aythya nyroca (15-60 on passage). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Sylvia atricapilla (3,000-3,400 pairs), Lanius collurio (420-460 pairs). A total of 266 species have been recorded so far, of which 89 are regular or occasional breeders. Nycticorax nycticorax, Burhinus oedicnemus and Sterna albifrons were lost as breeders at the end of the 1970s after the construction of the last hydroelectric power-station on the river.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The IBA is particularly threatened by intensive water management and the intensification of agriculture. The growth of tourist activities such as wind-surfing and hunting also causes serious disturbance to birds. DOPPS and Euronatur cooperated to protect the Drava-Mura area (see also `River Mura', IBA 013) between 1992 and 1994. A management plan for the area was prepared, publications were produced to increase public awareness of the area and its importance, a conference on the Drava-Mura Biosphere Reserve was held, and a local ornithological atlas project was initiated.

Protected areas
National Partial International None2,595 ha of IBA covered by Landscape Parks (Stara Drava, 2,150 ha; Šturmovci, 280 ha), Natural Monument (Ormoško jezero, 140 ha) and smaller protected areas (25 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: River Drava. Downloaded from on 02/04/2023.