Bulgaria is an often wonderful and sometimes frustrating place for all those interested in birdlife, the diversity of species and habitats on offer is unrivalled in Europe, yet the widespread culture of hunting often goes against the grain.

Birds & Habitats

Across the country from the lofty rocky crags of the Pirin, Rila, Vitosha and Rhodopi mountains over to Strandza National Park in the south east, following the Black Sea Coast north up to the Lower Danubian Plains you will discover exceptional places to witness the birdlife and unspoilt natural beauty that is available in Bulgaria.

The mountain chains offer great chances to see raptors, Eagles such as Short-toed, Lesser spotted, Golden and Imperial are often seen. Many other birds of prey can be found across the country, Saker Falcon, Buzzards, Red footed Falcon along with a range of Vultures and Harriers. You have a good chance to see Wallcreeper here too.

Forests in Bulgaria are rife with woodpeckers including, Green, Grey-headed, Greater, Middle and Lesser-spotted, Black, Syrian, White-backed and Wryneck. You will also find good numbers of Tree-creeper.

Srebarna in NE Bulgaria is home to Europe's only breeding colony of Dalmatian Pelican, it also has a colony of White Pelican large numbers of Pygmy Cormorant and many other waterfowl and waders. Squacco, Purple, Grey, Night Herons. Bittern, Little Bittern. Lakes at Durankulak and Shabla provide wintering grounds for Red-breasted, White fronted and Lesser White-fronted Geese.

Problems & Challenges

The hunting lobby in Bulgaria is planning an extension of its season and this coupled with illegal poaching could have a devastating effect on some species over the coming years, particularly the Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Geese. Recent evidence of hunting and poaching has come to light close to Durankulak and Shabla.

Personal & community involvement
Well intentioned but not often implemented action plans for various regions are also having a negative impact on birdlife and habitats here. We need to raise public awareness of this and apply measured pressure to the bodies concerned.

Natura 2000
There are some incidences of developers showing scant regard for the regulations and boundaries contained within Bulgaria's commitment to Nature 2000. Proposed projects at both Irakli and Yailata on the Black Sea Coast seem to be being allowed despite their contravention of regulations. Good work is being done by some of the environmental groups here but help is needed.

Author: Mike & Jerry Black, Proact coordinators Bulgaria

Srebarna birding

Last updated on:

Proact 2000-2008