The Wetland Book pp 1089-1097 | Cite as

The Inner Danish Waters and Their Importance to Waterbirds

Reference work entry


The inner Danish waters comprise an area of 50,000 km2. The area is very important to a range of species of waterbirds breeding further north in Scandinavia or further northeast in Russia and Siberia as the inner Danish waters are ice-free in most winters. The shallow nearshore areas are important to mute swan, Eurasian coot while the near-shore, slightly deeper areas are important to a range of seaducks most importantly common eider and common scoter. Open sea areas are important to red-throated and black-throated diver and several species of alcids. The largest number of waterbirds are present during migration and winter but some species also molt in the area during late summer. During migration dabbling ducks and geese are present in their thousands in coastal areas. Harbor seal and harbor porpoise are the most numerous marine mammals occurring in the area. Climate change might be affecting the distribution of waterbirds with several species showing an increase in numbers in the northeastern part of their wintering range with e.g. increasing numbers of wintering smew in the inner Danish waters.

Surveys of waterbirds have been conducted in Denmark since the 1960s, when the aerial survey method was introduced. For many years the total count method was used, but since 2000 the line transect sampling method, allowing for fine scale estimation of densities, has been used intensively.


Waterbirds Wetlands Monitoring Line transect Sampling method Molt 


  1. Asferg T. Vildtudbyttestatistik for jagtsæsonen 2011/2012. – Report from DCE, Aarhus University. 2012. p. 7.
  2. Clausen P, Holm TE, Laursen K, Nielsen RD, Christensen TK. Rastende fugle i det danske reservatnetværk 1994–2010. Del 1: Nationale resultater. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 118 s. Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 2013; 72.
  3. Degel H, Petersen IK, Holm TE, Kahlert T. Fugle som bifangst i garnfiskeriet. Estimat af utilsigtet bifangst af havfugle i garnfiskeriet i området omkring Ærø. DTU Aqua-rapport nr. 2010;227–2010:56.Google Scholar
  4. Ehmsen E, Pedersen L, Meltofte H, Clausen T, Nyegaard T. The occurrence and reestablishment of White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle as breeding birds in Denmark. Dansk Orn Foren Tidsskr. 2011;105:139–50.Google Scholar
  5. Hjort M, Josefson AB. Marine områder 2008. NOVANA. Tilstand og udvikling i miljø- og naturkvaliteten. Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser, Aarhus Universitet, 136 s. –Faglig rapport fra DMU nr. 2010;760.
  6. Jensen PN, Boutrup S, Fredshavn JR, Svendsen LM, Blicher-Mathiesen G, Wiberg-Larsen P, Jerring R, Hansen JW, Nielsen KE, Ellermann T, Thorling L, Holm AG. Vandmiljø og Natur 2011. NOVANA. Tilstand og udvikling – faglig sammenfatning. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 102 s. Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 2012;36.
  7. Joensen AH. Moult Migration and Wing-feather Moult of Seaducks in Denmark. Danish Rev Game Biol. 1973;8(4):1–42.Google Scholar
  8. Joensen AH. Waterfowl populations in Denmark 1965-73. Danish Rev Game Biol. 1974;9(1):206.Google Scholar
  9. Jordán-Pavón D, Fox AD, Clausen P, Dagys M, Deceuninck B, Devos K, Hearn R, Holt CA, Hornman M, Keller V, Langendoen T, Lawicki L, Lorentsen SH, Luigujoe L, Meissner W, Musil P, Nilsson L, Paquet J-Y, Stipniece A, Stroud D, Wahl J, Zenatello M, Lehikoinen A. Climate-driven changes in winter abundance of a migratory wanterbird in relation to EU protected areas. Diversity Distrib. 2015;21:571–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Laursen K, Kaae BC, Bladt J, Skov-Petersen H, Rømer JK, Clausen P, Olafsson A, Draux H, Petersen IK, Bregnballe T, Nielsen RD. Fordeling af vandorienterede friluftsaktiviteter og vandfugle i Danmark. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 66 s. – Teknisk rapport fra DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 2016;81.
  11. Laursen K, Pihl S, Durinck J, Hansen M, Skov H, Frikke J, Danielsen F. Numbers and distribution of waterbirds in Denmark 1987-1989. Danish Rev Game Biol. 1997;15(1):181.Google Scholar
  12. Lehikonen A, Jaatinen K, Vähätalo AV, Clausen P, Crowe O, Deceuninck B, Hearn R, Holt CA, Hornman M, Keller V, Nilsson L, Langendoen T, Tománková I, Wahl J, Fox AD. Rapid climate driven shifts in wintering distributions of three common waterbird species. Global Change Biology. 2013;19:2071–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pihl S. Vinterklimaets indflydelse på bestandsudviklingen for overvintrende kystnære vandfugle i Danmark 1987–1996. DOFT. 2000;94(2):73–89.Google Scholar
  14. Pihl S, Laursen K, Hounisen JP, Frikke J. Landsdækkende optælling af vandfugle fra flyvemaskine, januar/februar 1991 og januar/marts 1992. Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser. Faglig rapport fra DMU. 1992;44:42.Google Scholar
  15. Pihl S, Clausen P, Petersen IK, Nielsen RD, Laursen K, Bregnballe T, Holm TE, Søgaard S. Fugle 2004–2011. NOVANA. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 188 s. Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 2013; 49.
  16. Petersen IK, Pihl S, Hounisen JP, Holm TE, Clausen P, Therkildsen O, Christensen TK. Landsdækkende optællinger af vandfugle, januar og februar 2004. Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser. 76 s. Faglig rapport fra DMU nr. 2006; 606.
  17. Petersen IK, Nielsen RD, Pihl S, Clausen P, Therkildsen O, Christensen TK, Kahlert J, Hounissen JP. Landsdækkende optælling af vandfugle i Danmark, vinteren 2007/2008. Danmarks Miljøundersøgelser, Aarhus Universitet. 70 s. Faglig rapport fra DMU nr. 2010; 785.
  18. Petersen IK, Nielsen RD. Abundance and distribution of selected waterbird species in Danish marine areas. Report commissioned by Vattenfall A/S. National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Denmark. 2011. p. 62Google Scholar
  19. Petersen IK, MacKenzie ML, Rexstad E, Wisz MS, Fox AD. Comparing pre- and post-construction distributions of long-tailed ducks Clangula hyemalis in and around the Nysted offshore wind farm, Denmark: a quasi-designed experiment accounting for imperfect detection, local surface features and autocorrelation. CREEM Technical Report, no. 2011–1, University of St Andrews. 2011.Google Scholar
  20. Petersen IK, Nielsen RD, Mackenzie ML. Post-construction evaluation of bird abundances and distributions in the Horns Rev 2 offshore wind farm area, 2011 and 2012. Report commissioned by DONG Energy. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy. 2014. p. 51Google Scholar
  21. Riemann B, Carstensen J, Dahl K, Fossing H, Hansen JW, Jakobsen HH, Josefson AB, Krause-Jensen D, Markager S, Stæhr PA, Timmermann K, Windolf J, Andersen JH. Recovery of Danish Coastal Ecosystems after reductions in nutrient loading: a holistic ecosystem approach. Estuaries Coasts. 2016;39:82–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Søgaard B, Wind P, Bladt JS, Mikkelsen P, Wiberg-Larsen P, Galatius A. Teilmann J. Arter 2014. NOVANA. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 74 s. Videnskabelig rapport fra DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi nr. 2015; 168.
  23. Viquerat S, Herr H, Gilles A, Peschko V, Siebert U, Sveegaard S, Teilmann J. Abundance of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the western Baltic. Belt Seas Kattegat Mar Biol. 2014;161:745–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zydelis R, Bellebaum J, Österblom H, Vetemaa M, Schirmeister B, Stipniece A, Dagys M, van Eerden M, Garthe S. Bycatch in gillnet fisheries – An overlooked threat to waterbird populations. Biological Conservation. 2009;142:1269–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityKaløDenmark

Personalised recommendations