Bulgaria lies on the western edge of the Black Sea and includes Via Pontica the second largest autumn migratory route in Europe for raptors, storks, pelican and a wide range of seabirds. Priority species include Yelkouan Shearwater (VU), the Mediterranean subspecies of the European Shag, the Common Tern (LC), Little Tern (LC) and Mew Gull (LC). Gulls and terns are foudn in the coastal shallow waters all year around, while they are also an especially important overwintering site for Red-breasted Goose (EN). Seabirds in the Black Sea have not been well studied and in addition no special studies have been carried out for the identification of marine IBAs. The only currently known feeding area of the Yelkouan Shearwater in the Black Sea is in Emine IBA, however breeding have not yet been found. The only known breeding colony in the Black Sea of the Mediterranean shag is found in the Kaliakra IBA. On-going studies are being carried out by BirdLife's partner, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, including annual mid-winter counts of marine areas up to 2-3km from the cost and monitoring the number of breeding birds in the colony of the Mediterranean subspecies of the European Shag.
Key threats to seabird species in the Bulgarian marine environments include:
o Costal construction and development
o Overfishing and accidental bycatch
o Construction of offshore wind-farms
o Oil and chemical pollution
o Predation and the impact of competitive species
o Identify key sites for the Yelkouan Shearwater and confirm breeding status for the Mediterranean subspecies of the European Shag
o For the Mediterranean subspecies of the European Shag map breeding distribution, foraging areas and patterns of movement along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
o Identify and evaluate all the major threats to seabirds
o Gain legal protection for marine IBAs, reassess the boundaries of coastal IBAs, eventually designate new marine SPAs
Government's support/relevant policy
All coastal IBAs have been approved as SPAs by the Bulgarian government. Please see policy tab for list of agreements that this country is party to.
Petrels and shearwaters
Gulls and terns
Ducks, geese and swans
IUCN Red List Status
The numbers in brackets refer to the country's rank when compared to other countries and territories globally.
o Kostadinova, I., M. Gramatikov (eds.) 2007. Important Bird Areas in Bulgaria and Natura 2000. Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Conservation Series, Book 11. Sofia, BSPB, p.
o Nankinov, D.N. 1996. Coastal parks and reserves along the Black Sea and their importance for seabirds. Marine Ornithology 24: 29
BirdLife International (2023) Country profile: Bulgaria. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/country/bulgaria on 30/09/2023.