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Venice Lagoon (Laguna di Venezia) - BirdForum Opus



The city of Venice is situated on islands in a vast and shallow, brackish lagoon between the mouths of the Brenta and Piava River. A series of sandbars almost cuts off the lagoon from the Adriatic but it remains tidal and large areas have eel-grass Zostera beds and seaweeds such as Ulva and Enteromorpha.

As well as the main lagoon there is a series of smaller, more enclosed lagoons, known as "valli" and aside from the urban areas much of the surrounding land is heavily cultivated.

The entire area is extremely important for waders and waterfowl on passage and in winter with 50,000 to 100,000 birds recorded.


Notable Species

Despite the large numbers of birds in autumn and winter there are also interesting breeding birds such as Little Bittern and Little Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron and Purple Heron.

Waders include Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover and recently Common Redshank, a few Montagu's Harrier nest and there are colonies of Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Little Tern.

Mediterranean Gull is a rare breeder but more common on passage and in winter.

Black Tern is a common passage bird in autumn and is joined by other tern species and gulls. Waders and waterfowl of many species occur as migrants and in winter.

Among the most numerous wintering species are Common Teal, Eurasian Coot and Dunlin but a wide range of species is usually present. Black-necked Grebe and Little Egret occur in thousands and Great White Egret, Goldeneye and Avocet in hundreds.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Western Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull, (rare in Su), Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Eurasian Robin, Eurasian Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Marsh Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Blackcap

Site Information

The Venice Lagoon covers a huge area and includes many Wildlife Reserves and a State Nature Reserve.

Parts of the lagoon are also designated as a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar Site.

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

Among the best of the many good birding areas is the Lio Piccolo in the east of the lagoon to the north of Cavallino. Unfortunately this area has no official protection and shooting is widespread, however, large numbers of herons, waders and waterfowl can be seen out of the breeding season.

Access and Facilities

To reach Lio Piccolo from Cavallino take the road to Ca' Savio and from there to Treporti. A minor road leads from here past the Valle Saccheta and Valle Paleazza to Lio Piccolo from where the Valle Liona can be viewed. Lio Piccolo can also be reached by boat from Venice.

Venice has abundant hotel accommodation, most of which is very expensive, as well as hostels, and there are campsites at several points around the lagoon.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve