A brackish coastal lake in the southern part of Albania, with an outlet to the sea via a channel of about 4 km. The lake (1,630 ha) is used for extensive mussel-farming and hunting, and is surrounded by hills with orchards and scattered maquis. Water-fringe vegetation is poor, apart from an area (50 ha) on the north side that includes Phragmites, Scirpus and wet grasslands. The channel to the sea has Salicornia-covered islands and small coastal marshes. The nearby small lake of Bufi, included within the IBA, is fringed with reedbeds.
Given that there are few large natural tectonic lakes with reedbeds in the Balkans, the site is believed to be of importance, especially for birds breeding in reedbeds, and criterion B2 has been applied. However, data are incomplete and numbers currently fall below the IBA thresholds; disturbance may also contribute to the low counts. The site also supports substantial numbers of wintering waterbirds; censuses recorded 7,700 individuals in January 1995, and 8,300 individuals in January 1996.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Butrinti. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/04/2019.