Pelecanus crispus breeds in eastern Europe and east-central Asia, in Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Ukraine, Mongolia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. European breeders winter in the eastern Mediterranean countries, Russian and central Asian breeders in Iran, Iraq and the Indian subcontinent, and Mongolian birds along the east coast of China7, including Hong Kong (China). Following massive declines during the 19th and 20th centuries, numbers have stabilised between 10,000-20,000 individuals (including c.4,000-5,000 breeding pairs5) and several colonies are increasing2,4. The majority of birds breed in the countries of the former Soviet Union (2,700-3,500 pairs)8, although the largest colony is at Lake Mikri Prespa, Greece, with nearly 1,000 breeding pairs4 and there are around 450 pairs in the Danube Delta12. The Mongolian population continues to decline and is "almost extinct"10.
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