An ancient volcano, cut by the gorge of the Arda river. The shingle and sand riverbanks are covered by Salix trees, bushes and other vegetation. There are scattered forests of Quercus and Mediterranean trees (Juniperus, Colutea) on the rocky mountain slopes. Jasminum and Paliurus are predominant in the sclerophyllous shrubland. Land-uses are the extensive rearing of cattle, sheep and goats, forestry and mining. The area is becoming depopulated due to ongoing rural emigration.
The site is one of the most important sites in Bulgaria for breeding Ciconia nigra and Otus scops. It also supports the only breeding colony of Gyps fulvus in Bulgaria. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Aegypius monachus (common non-breeding resident). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Neophron percnopterus (3 pairs), Circaetus gallicus (1 pair), Bubo bubo (3 pairs).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Mining drives away vultures and other large cliff-nesting birds, through open-air and underground explosions, drilling activities, and the disposal of waste material. In addition, rural depopulation has led to a decrease in available food (livestock carrion) for vultures in the region. Only a very small area of the IBA has been protected. A BSPB project for the eastern Rhodopi mountains (of which this area is a part) is ongoing under the Bulgarian-Swiss Biodiversity Conservation Programme.
National Low International None79 ha of IBA covered by National Monument (Kovan Kaya, 79 ha). 19 ha of IBA covered by Protected Landscape (Momina Skala, 19 ha). 180 ha of IBA covered by Protected Landscape (Patronka, 180 ha).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Madzharovo. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 25/03/2023.