The first breeding of the little ringed plover at the Salina Salt Pans has been recorded by members of the Aquilarus Bird Study Group.

The adult birds and three chicks were first sighted on July 7.

In the Maltese Islands, the little ringed plover is a common passage migrant occurring both in spring, from early March to late May, and in autumn, from July to early November.

It is also a localised breeding bird in small numbers.

The species first bred in the Maltese islands in 1995 at the Ghadira Nature Reserve and although one to six pairs have nested since, this has, until now, been confined to the Mellieha reserve, the latter offering the ideal conditions and even more important, a protective environment.

With major works going on to rehabilitate the Salina salt pans, this nesting record is even more surprising considering the amount of disturbance going on.

Subsequent visits showed that the little ringed plover family was faring well and all three chicks fledged successfully.

“This is an indication of the potential of the Salina Salt Pans, once the area is fully rehabilitated to its former status.

“If properly managed, the Salina area can be transformed into a potential Ramsar wetland site (a wetland site of national importance), giving a great boost to Malta’s biodiversity, Michael Sammut, a local ornithologist and a member of the bird study group said.

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