Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus, Морской зуек, Ծովային քարադր
Distribution and biological peculiarities in Armenia: The species occupies central Asia, Middle East and north-east Africa as a monotypic. In Armenia, during the breeding season, it is distributed in Armash fish-farming ponds located in Ararat Plain, where prefers habitats in the vicinity of shallow standing or slow-flowing water with suitable smooth beds. The species returns from the wintering ground usually in late March beginning of April. It breeds in damp, vegetated areas near water, and on small vegetated islets or swampy shores, having 3-4 eggs in the clutch. The fledglings are observed in July. The food of the species is mainly insects (especially beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, fly larvae and locusts), but also worms, mollusks and crustaceans (including freshwater shrimps).
Population dynamics: According to the last estimation, population of the species makes from 30 to 50 breeding pairs. Since Ararat Plain is being intensively occupied by agriculture, it appears that habitat loss is one of the major threats for the species. Direct persecution during legal hunting season is also a threat for this slow flyer and is mostly a result of lack of hunters' education. In one of the farms at Armash wetlands the hunting is stopped due to slow development of birdwatching; however outside that farm it still takes place. Ten year population trend demonstrates fluctuations, which partly could be result of direct persecution at breeding and also migrating range. Potentially the species can be affected also by pollution of the area by persistent organic pesticides, washed from the surrounding agricultural lands and by heavy metals, which could reach the area from the nearby tailing pond of the gold mine.
Conservation Measures: The species is included in Red Book of Animals of Armenia (2010) as VU D1. None of the breeding pairs of the species are covered by Protected Area network of Armenia. In 2017 Armash fish-ponds have been included in the Emerald Network, protected under Bern Convention. The proposed conservation measures include: (1) development of management plan for "Armash" Emerald Site in order to improve protection of the breeding pairs; (2) inclusion of the conservation education module in conditions for licensing of hunters; (3) strengthening the control of the poachers and pet owners; (4) further development of birdwatching in Armash fish-ponds in order to create permanent flow of people who's presence will be an additional support for species conservation.