Birds of Bulgaria

Fat Birder for Bulgaria

Over the last ten years birding has really taken off in Bulgaria, but this is not really surprising when one considers the species that can be seen in this birding paradise. There are over 200 Dalmatian pelicans in the colony at the Srebarna UNESCO reserve, which is the biggest European colony, Red-footed Falcons (over 500 pairs); over 20 pairs of Eastern Imperial eagles, over 800 pairs of Pygmy cormorant, over 100 pairs of Ferruginous duck, and more than 50 pairs of Ruddy shell duck. The country is dotted with fishpond systems and many small and bigger rivers

  • Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria – www.bspb.org

    BSPB has contributed to a number of international projects in cooperation with partners from more than 20 other countries, including: Great Britain, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, the United States, Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Macedonia, Latvia and others. BSPB’s leading role in international conservation led BirdLife International to invite us to be its partner in Bulgaria, the second Eastern European nation, after Hungary, to host a BirdLife International partner.

    Egytian Vulture in Bulgaria

    The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is one of the two most endangered raptors in Europe, and is classified globally as “Endangered” (IUCN Red List 2008). Everywhere in the species’ range (except in France), its population is undergoing rapid decline. Over the last six years, the Bulgarian population of the Egyptian vulture has declined by 39%, reaching only 35 pairs in 2008.

    This worrying pace of decline is due mainly to high adult mortality in the breeding range of the species (Inigo et al. 2009; Kurtev et al. 2008). In turn, this is a result of intoxication by various substances. The causes of mortality along migration routes and in the wintering areas are almost completely unknown. In 2008, a BSPB team, in cooperation with the Natural History Museum of Madrid, carried out a toxicology study of 15 pre-fledging juveniles. The results revealed unexpected new threats, such as high levels of pathogens, lead poisoning and exposure to antibiotics due to consumption of carcasses of treated livestock. Decreased availability of natural food represents an additional constraint on the species, while also increasing the risk of poisoning.

    Bulgarian stories about Storks (Bird and People)

    The Bulgarian belief that storks bring health to people is at the root of an old ritual. The moment one sees a stork for the first time in spring, he or she takes off themartenitza [a special spring adornment made of red and white yarn] and throws it in the direction of the stork’s flight. People believe that this symbolic exchange will protect them from illnesses, especially from back pain. If you greet the storks standing on your feet, your work on the field will be easy. But if the first time you see the bird it is perched, then this means languor and tiredness during the agricultural season. There are still old people who predict the weather looking at the first storks. If the wings of the storks are dirty with mud, it means the year will be rainy. All the Bulgarian myths and beliefs protect storks. It is forbidden to kill one or destroy a nest. It is so deep-seated even nowadays. The fact that every year the stork come to its nest makes its a symbol of a ‘solid’ family. If someone destroys a stork nest the human home will be blighted; the kids will become orphans, or they will leave home and settle far away. Because the stork couple is so devoted, it is believed that storks can be used in a love charm: a girl takes a piece of straw from the nest to kindle the love of her sweetheart.  There are no beliefs in Bulgarian folklore that storks bring babies. These birds are only symbol of the spring, love, health, strength, fertility. [Nada Tosheva, Sofia, Bulgaria]
  • Bird conservation in Bulgaria

    Conservation of rare bird species is the priority of our work. This is due to the fact that most of the threatened species are birds and many of the specialists in the Organization are ornithologists. In this regard, Green Balkans has been implementing long-term conservation programs for the following species:

    • Vultures – find out MORE about vulture species and Green Balkans’ vulture conservation program.
    • Imperial eagle – once widely distributed, today the Imperial Eagle is threatened with extinction. The persistent and hard work in recent years inspires hope that the species will be saved. Read MORE about the Imperial Eagle and our activities for its conservation.
    • Saker falcon – at present there is no known breeding pair in the country. Find out MORE about the launched initiatives for the conservation of this magnificent bird.
    • Red-breasted goose – a globally threatened species, for the survival of which Bulgaria is of critical significance. Find out MORE about our activities related to this species.
    • Pygmy cormorant – a globally threatened species of “bad” image. Find out MORE about the Pygmy Cormorant and what we do to preserve it.
    • Herons – the destruction of wetlands and habitats of Herons threatens the 9 heron species found in Bulgaria. Find out MORE about Herons and Egrets and our related activities.
    • White stork – one of the species “close to people’s hearts”; however, it also needs special protection. Find out MORE about our work related to the White Stork.