Open up a world of Turkish inspiration with a Cornucopia digital subscription

Buy or gift a stand-alone digital subscription and get unlimited access to dozens of back issues for just £18.99 / $18.99 a year.

Print subscribers automatically receive FREE access to the digital archive.
Please register at with your subscriber account number or contact

Buy a digital subscription Activate free digital access (print subscribers only) Go to the Digital Edition

Waterworld: more on the Kızılırmak Delta

Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu captured stunning panoramas of the delta for Cornucopia’s article in No 57 in March 2018, as well as magnificent birds, including the grey-headed lapwing, never seen before in Europe or western Asia. Here are some of the images that did not make the final cut, with further information about the delta by the site manager Dr Mustafa Güler

  • Wild horses in the Kızılırmak Delta (photo: Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu)
  • Arable land gives way to the delta (photo: Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu)
  • The mouth of the Kızılırmak, literally the 'Red River' (Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu)
  • The purple heron (Ardea purpurea) breeds in the Kızılırmak Delta, unlike the other herons and egrets seen here (Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu)
  • The grey-headed lapwing featured in the cover story of Cornucopia 57. This photograph was taken on March 11, 2018, a day to remember for Emin Yoğurtcuoğlu, who spotted the bird strolling over the ruins of illegal holiday cottages pulled down in order to protect the nature reserve. This is the first ever sighting of the species in Europe or western Asia. The rice paddies of northeast China and Japan are its normal habitat

Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary (KDWBS)

The boundary(ies) of the KDWBS

  • The Kızılırmak Delta Wetland and Bird Sanctuary (KDWBS) is located in the Black Sea Cost in Samsun Province of Turkey. The KDWBS is 0-15 m above sea level and is made up of fresh and semi-saline lakes, stable and moving sand dunes, reed beds, marshes, flooded grasslands and forest. The delta has be a designated Ramsar site since 1998 and is protected by the Turkish Law on Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets (2863 - 23.07.1983), the Regulation on Protection of Wetlands (04.04.2014 Number of Official Gazette: 28962) and the Terrestrial Hunting Law (4915- 01.07.2003). The total area of the KDWBS is 45378 ha. Off these, 21263 ha is nominated heritage site while 24115 ha is the buffer zone. The delta also has first-degree natural-site protection status (the most strictly protected status desigation within the National Law on the Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets/2863 - 23.07.1983). Although the high level of protection provides adequate safeguards for the KDWBS, additionally, the agricultural lands in the buffer zones are designated as protected  agricultural sites (decree dated 12.12.2016, number 2016/9620, Official Gazette; 12.12.2016/9620), while the Black Sea coast surrounding the delta has the protection status as natural sites according to the new ecologically based environmental plan of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. The unusual structure of the buffer zones is due to the second-degree natural site protection status granted by the Ministry in a recent natural-site boundary work awaiting approval by the Ministry which will ensure that the KDWBS is efficiently safeguarded.
  • Coastal sand dunes connect the two main zones of KDWBS, to the east and  west of the Kızılırmak river. In the eastern zone, six shallow lakes (Liman, Balık, Uzun, Cernek, Gıcı and Tatlı) and areas of flooded mixed ash-alder forest are bordered by the sea to north and east, and agricultural land to the south. Three small areas were added to the buffer zone due to the presence of a single small settlement with legally disputed property. The western zone  includes Karaboğaz and Mülk Lakes, with the sea to the west and agricultural lands on the south and east. Again, small privately owned farms excluded from KDWBS have been included as buffer zones. These two large natural areas are linked by 2km wide Black Sea coastal buffer zones. The delta also has small isolated fragments of forestry that are already protected by the Turkish Forest Law (6831-31.08.1956). These woods serve as useful stepping stones for birds to use as nesting sites and find prey.
  • This is a list of Latin, English and Turkish birds in the Kızılırmak Delta and their status in the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

  1. Vanellus gregarius Sociable plover Sürmeli kızkuşu
    Critically endangered, vagrant
  2. Oxyura leucocephala White-headed duck Dikkuyruk
    Endangered, breeding, recent arrival, wintering
  3. Neophron percnopterus Egyptian vulture Küçük akbaba
    Endangered, vagrant
  4. Aquila nipalensis Steppe eagle Bozkır kartalı
    Endangered, vagrant
  5. Falco cherrug Saker falcon Ulu doğan
    Endangered, passage migrant
  6. Podiceps auritus Slavonian grebe Kulaklı batağan
    Vulnerable, vagrant
  7. Puffinus yelkouan Yelkouan shearwater Yelkovan
    Vulnerable, wintering
  8. Pelecanus crispus Dalmatian Pelican Tepeli Pelikan
    Vulnerable, breeding, wintering, resident
  9. Anser erythropus Lesser white-fronted goose Küçük sakarca
    Vulnerable, vagrant
  10. Branta ruficollis Red-breasted goose Sibirya kazı
    Vulnerable, wintering
  11. Marmaronetta angustirostris Marbled teal Yaz ördeği
    Vulnerable, vagrant
  12. Aythya ferina Pochard Elmabaş patka
    Vulnerable, breeding, wintering, resident
  13. Melanitta fusca Velvet Scoter Kadife ördek
    Vulnerable, wintering
  14. Clanga clanga Greater spotted eagle Büyük orman kartalı
    Vulnerable, wintering
  15. Aquila heliaca Imperial eagle Şah kartal
    Vulnerable, passage migrant
  16. Otis tarda Great bustard Toy
    Vulnerable, vagrant
  17. Streptopelia turtur, Turtle Dove Üveyik
    Vulnerable, breeding, summer migrant
  18. Acrocephalus paludicola Aquatic warbler Sarı kamışçın
    Vulberable, vagrant

There are numerous scientific and inventory studies on the natural values of the Kızılırmak Delta. These are the main studies:


·     Dijksen and Kasparek 1985: Birds of Kızılırmak Delta
·     Hustings and Dijk 1994: Bird Census in the Kızılırmak Delta
·     Yarar and Magnin 1997: Important Bird Areas of Turkey.
·     Kılıc and Eken 2004: Important bird areas of Turkey
·     Barıs et al 2010: Kızılırmak Delta, an important natural heritage: Birds
·     Korkmaz and Saglam 2010: Kızılırmak Delta, an important natural heritage: Plants
·     Yeniyurt et al (editors) 2008. Kızılırmak Delta Wetland Management Plan 2008-2012
·     Yeniyurt and Hemmami 2011: Ramsar Sites of Turkey
·     Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs 2014: Terrestrial and fresh water biodiversity inventory of Samsun Province
·     Ministry of Environment and Urbanization 2016: Report on ecological basis of natural sites in Samsun, Sinop, Amasya, Ordu ve Tokat provinces.


Related Issues
Related Destinations
Cornucopia Digital Subscription

The Digital Edition

Cornucopia has joined forces with the digital publishing platform Exact Editions to offer individual and institutional subscribers unlimited access to a searchable archive of fascinating back issues and every newly published issue. This brand new resource is available cross-platform on web, iOS and Android and offers a comprehensive search function, allowing the title’s cultural content to be delved into at the touch of a button.

Digital Subscription: £18.99 / $18.99 (1 year)

Subscribe now

Print subscribers automatically receive FREE access to the digital archive. If you are already a subscriber, please register at with your subscriber account number or contact