fr en
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
You are here:  Home - Airport & surroundings - About Montpellier Airport / Environment / Flora & fauna

Flora, fauna and environment - Montpellier Airport

+A -A


flora fauna montpellier mediterranean airport


The Montpellier Mediterranean Airport platform is located on the northwestern shore of the Etang de l’Or coastal lagoon of Mauguio.

It is thus bordered to the south, the east and the west, by a vast complex of wetland areas surrounding the lagoons of Mauguio and Palavas, sheltering highly diversified flora and fauna.

These lagoons are also an important migratory staging point in spring and summer for all the birds of Western Europe that migrate along the Rhone valley and across the Mediterranean to North and West Africa and back.



Natura 2000 sites

The coastal lagoons of the Etang d’Or and Palavas are fully classified under Natura 2000 (Special Protection Area and Site of Community Interest). Classification as a Special Protection Area is related to the fact that these lagoons are home to many natural habitats for birds listed in Annex I of the European "Birds" Directive.

Natural Areas of Flora and Fauna Ecological Interest (ZNIEFF)

A ZNIEFF is a territorial sector of special ecological interest contributing to preserving the natural balance or constituting the living environment of rare plant and animal species that are characteristic of natural regional heritage.

Coastal lagoons of l’Etang d’Or and Palavas, “RAMSAR” sites

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, to curb the degradation and disappearance of wetlands, today and in the future, by recognizing the basic ecological functions of wetlands as well as their economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value.


Natural habitats

The airport platform can be divided into two parts:

  • The northern part mainly consisting of the habitats of “Mediterranean hay meadows”, with the little bustard, red-legged partridge, northern lapwing, golden plover, cattle egret, black kite, kestrel, black crow, jackdaw and starling.
  • The southern part mainly consisting of “Mediterranean salt meadows” and “salt marshes” with the grey heron, egret, flamingo, shelduck, Mediterranean gull and yellow-legged gull.

Migratory species are also present, such as the sand martin, house martin, barn swallow and common swift.


birds flora fauna montpellier mediterranean airport



The airport is situated on the edge of lagoons that are very rich environments, especially for birds. No fewer than 235 species have been recorded in the lagoons during an ecological cycle (spring, summer, autumn, winter) with more than 20,000 waterfowl stationed there each year.

In this context, the airport has to deal with many species that complete part of their ecological cycle on the platform (mainly meadowland species) and species that use the platform while in transit from one site to another.



To guarantee the safety of aircraft on the main runway, the airport must ensure a continuous presence during the “aeronautical” day (30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset) to monitor and, if necessary, scare away birds that would otherwise threaten flight safety, and neutralize any wild or domestic animals that venture into the movement area.

Grassy areas are very attractive for many species of birds, especially insectivorous species as these areas are very rich in insects.

Action plan to reduce bird nuisances

To make the platform less attractive to birds, a continuous Animal Hazard improvement plan carries out the following actions every year:

  • Mobile pyrotechnic scaring devices, using sound detonators and shellcrackers.
  • Acoustic scaring devices specific to birds (distress calls) aboard a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Abandonment of cultivated areas such as alfalfa, a food source for birds.
  • Special treatment of grassy areas by cutting grass to a certain height.
  • Information for pilots to signify the presence of swallows and swifts from May to September.
  • Intervention on the platform of an ornithologist.
  • Partnership with the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS) for further action to deter or remove birds.
  • Placing of two fixed acoustic scarers in aircraft rotation areas.
  • Cutting of hedges and copses of trees that attract birds.
  • Reinforcing the Animal Hazard Prevention Service from late July to mid September.

  • December 18, 2014: Montpellier Airport in its environment
  • Download file


> For more information, see the section Animal Hazard Prevention.

> Go back to the section Presentation.

pub en - carre droit - aeroport - emplacements externes
pub - banniere basse - tout le site en