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Turau Meadow

Location:Homel Region, Zytkavichy District.

Coordinates: E52°04' N27°44'

Area: 500 hectares

National Conservation Status: None.

International Conservation Status: Potential IBA(Criteria: А1: Great SnipeGallinagomedia; A4: White-fronted Goose Anseralbifrons;B4: Little Tern Sternaalbifrons, Black-tailed Godwit Limosalimosa).

Turau meadows is an open floodplain meadow in the middle part of Prypiac river. The floodplain of Prypiac here is relatively low and waterlogged. The relief is formed by small ridges intermixed with depressions with a large number of small shallow ponds that dry out by May – mid June. The most elevated parts of the floodplain are covered with water only during very high floods.

The meadows are generally open, it is only in the recent years that patches of bushes have started to form. Ground vegetation in the core part is low, increasing towards in the eastern part of the site, the projecting cover of ground vegetation is uneven – from 10 to 100%, some parts along the river are completely bare. The current tendency for the ground vegetation is to increase projecting cover and height due to lack of grazing/trampling impact of cattle.  The following species prevail in the ground vegetation: Agrostis vulgaris, Poa annua, Sedum acre, Potentilla anserine, Ptarmica cartilaginea, Lysimachia nummularia, Ranunculus flammula. In more waterlogged depressions – Glyceria aquatica, Carex vulpine.

Turau meadows is one of the most important wader breeding sites in Belarus. During spring flood, the meadows is a system of a large number of small islands, occupied by breeding waders as soon as their tops appear above water.  An uneven relief ensures presence of dry and wet part regardless of the state of the flood, creating extremely favorable conditions for breeding waterfowl. The core, better preserved part of 200 hectares Turau meadows supports over 500 breeding pairs of waterfowl, including large populations of such species of conservation concern as Great snipe Gallinago media, Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa, largest Belarus breeding populations of Terek sandpiper Xenus cinereus, Ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus. The meadows is also an important breeding site for other waterfowl species – terns, gulls, ducks, including protected Little tern Sterna albifrons, Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybrida, Little gull Larus minutus,  Common gull Larus canus, Pintail Anas acuta.

The site is the stop-over place for more than 40’000 waterbirds during spring and autumn migration. Turau meadows is one of the most important staging site for Philomachus pugnax in Central and Eastern Europe, with up to 25’000 birds stopping here in spring. It is also a stop-over site for globally threatened Anser erythropus, as well as for other species of geese.

The Turau Meadow is one of the most promising sites for the development of ornithological tourism. Currently, it is visited by numerous small groups of national and foreign tourists.