The eastern part of the largest Bulgarian island (Belene) along the River Danube. Three large marshes, with open-water areas partly covered by floating water-plants and fringed by reedbeds of Phragmites, Sparganium and Alisma, and which are surrounded by seasonally flooded forest (Salix, Populus) and wet meadows (Cynodon, Scirpus). There are two smaller islands (one called Kitka), also covered with flooded forest. The complex lies between kilometres 576 and 560 of the Danube. Human activities include cattle-grazing in the buffer zone of the Persinski marshes reserve, agriculture in surrounding areas and hunting (including international hunting tourism).
Formerly one of the most important breeding sites in the country for Phalacrocorax pygmeus (max. 40 pairs) and Plegadis falcinellus (max. 60 pairs), which stopped breeding on the island about 10 years ago. They would probably breed again if water-levels were restored, but such site-management depends on finding the necessary funding. Breeding species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaetus albicilla (1 pair). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Platalea leucorodia (rare).
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Belene Islands Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2021.