Atanasovsko Lake

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A hyper-saline lake on the Black Sea coast, just north of the suburbs of the town of Burgas. Most of the lake is now a complex of evaporation saltpans, with smaller settling pools for salt-extraction. Smaller freshwater marshes, including a system of canals overgrown with marsh vegetation, surround the lake. The banks of the saltpans are covered by Salicornia, while the freshwater areas are fringed by beds of Typha and Phragmites. Most of the area is used for salt production, but traditional and non-intensive production methods continue to be used (`Other' land-use, below).

Key biodiversity
The lake is a very important staging, wintering and breeding area for migratory waterbirds, including globally threatened species such as Numenius tenuirostris, Pelecanus crispus, Branta ruficollis, Aythya nyroca and Aquila clanga. It is also a major migratory bottleneck site, where huge numbers of soaring raptors and waterbirds pass overhead in autumn. The commonest such species are as follows (minimum and maximum seasonal totals over the 1990-1996 period are given): Pelecanus onocrotalus (17,645-37,228), Ciconia nigra (2,781-4,574), Ciconia ciconia (80,592-204,423), Pernis apivorus (13,406-23,052), Buteo buteo (14,441-30,662), Aquila pomarina (9,009-25,796) and Falco vespertinus (438-3,110). Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Anser erythropus (max. 1 in winter), Marmaronetta angustirostris (one winter record), Oxyura leucocephala (max. 10 in winter), Haliaeetus albicilla (max. 2 on passage), Circus macrourus (7-20 per season on passage), Aquila heliaca (2-4 on passage), Falco naumanni (max. 3 on passage), Crex crex (max. 3 pairs breeding). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Tadorna ferruginea.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Some problems are bird mortality from collision with powerlines, as well as possible expansion of the airport (which might increase bird-scaring activities, to reduce the risk of collision with aircraft), and intensification of salt-production methods (`Other' threat, above). The management plan for Atanasovo lake was prepared by the Ministry of Environment under the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme.

Protected areas
National High International Partial1,050 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Atanasovo lake, 1,050 ha). 900 ha of IBA covered by Buffer Zone (Atanasovo lake, 900 ha). 1,050 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Atanasovo lake, 1,050 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Atanasovsko Lake. Downloaded from on 21/04/2021.