Amvrakikos Gulf is the largest wetland area of Greece and one of the most important wetlands of Europe. The gulf takes its name from the ancient city of Ambracia located near its shores. On the Gulf `s northern coast, rivers Louros and Arachtos form a double delta with extensive fresh water marshes, salt marshes and lagoons. Amvrakikos is an impressive variety of ecotopes that constantly change unfolding a picture of rare beauty.
The geomorphology and warm climate favors the development of rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. 300 bird species have been recorded here, from which 100 are rare, endangered or threatened. The Gulf serves as an intermediate stop for migratory species that find supplies and rest, or as a hibernation area, or as residence ecotope. The most characteristic bird is the dalmatian pelican, which is one of the largest birds in the world (3.2m wing span, 10-12kg). During winter we meet here crowd of ducks, Great Cormorants and Greater Spotted Eagles, while during spring thousands of Egretta garzetta and Glossy Ibis migrate here. Also White Storks, Black-winged Stilt, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great Egret are some of species breeding here.
Amvrakikos also hosts a rich fish fauna, with several commercial fish species. Mullets (known as “petali”), sea bass, breams fished in the lagoons and wild shrimps are the specialties at the local tavernas. The lagoons are still fished the traditional way known as «ivaria” or “divaria”. These are special constructions with canes that, while they allow the free entry of fishes from the sea, prevent them to return and thus entrap them.
A permanent population of 120 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is also found in the Amvrakikos gulf, while meetings with loggerhead turtles(Caretta caretta) and seals (Monachus monachus) are frequent, which enter the gulf due to the abundance of food.
So today Amvrakikos Gulf is a Ramsar Protected Area, a Wildlife Refuge, a Special Protected Area, an Important Bird Area and since 2008 National Park.