Shabla Lake Complex

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A complex of three lakes in north-eastern Bulgaria, 5 km north-east from the village of Shabla. Two lakes are connected by an artificial canal and separated from the Black Sea by a sandbar; both have indented shorelines fringed with reedbeds of Phragmites, Typha and Carex. There is a hyper-saline lake (Shablenska tuzla) just to the south. There are planted trees and bushes of Elaeagnus, Syringa, Ligustrum, Cotinus and Crataegus in the former state residence, and forestry plantations to the north (Robinia, Fraxinus) and south (Populus) of the lake.

Key biodiversity
The complex is very important in winter for the globally threatened Branta ruficollis and for Anser albifrons, which both occur in huge numbers, as well as for other wintering and migrating waterbirds such as Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Cygnus cygnus, Anas platyrhynchos and Aythya nyroca (one pair sometimes remains to breed). The site is also a notable migratory bottleneck site in autumn, when up to 6,500 Ciconia ciconia have been counted passing overhead (the site may qualify under the A4iv criterion but more counts are needed). Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Anser erythropus (1 or 2 on passage and in winter). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Tadorna ferruginea.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main problem is illegal hunting, including international hunting tourism. Illegal net-fishing and cattle-grazing cause disturbance to birds using the site. The management plan for Durankulak lake was prepared by Ministry of Environment under the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme.

Protected areas
National Partial International Partial511 ha of IBA covered by Protected Landscape (Shabla lake, 511 ha). 403 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Shabla lake, 403 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Shabla Lake Complex. Downloaded from on 29/11/2020.