Information about the birds in the project

Lesser White-fronted Goose <em>(Anser erythropus)</em>

Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus)

The Lesser White-fronted Goose is the rarest and most endangered goose breeding in Europe. In Bulgaria it can only be observed during migration and in winter in mixed flocks with the Greater White-fronted Goose and the Red-breasted Goose, mainly along the Black Sea coast and in some larger wetlands in the interior of the country. It is included in the column "critically endangered species" in the Red Book and is protected by law.

Nests from the Scandinavian Peninsula to the Yamal, Taimyr and Chukotka Peninsulas. Nests singly in marshy open areas with water bodies, often near peregrine falcon or northern buzzard nests. It nests on the ground, on small dry patches or hills, in thick bushes or on rocky places in mountainous areas.

The species is herbivorous, obtaining its food (leaves of herbaceous plants) on land. In winter, it feeds along with other species of geese, mostly in winter wheat crops and on leftover corn kernels after harvest.

The main reason for the decline of the small white-fronted goose is the unregulated shooting in the wintering grounds and gathering places of the species, especially along the long migration route. Last but not least, the destruction and damage of wetlands have a detrimental effect.

Red-breasted Goose <em>(Branta ruficollis)</em>

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)

One of the most endangered geese in the world, it is also the most attractive of all geese in the wild. The Red-breasted Goose stands out among the others with the beautiful combination of red, white and black colors in its plumage. Every year it flies more than 3000 km to winter in the region of the northern and western coast of the Black Sea. At the end of winter it returns on the return route to Arctic Russia.

70% of all red-breasted geese in the world raise their young on the Taimyr, Gidan and Yamal peninsulas, Arctic Russia. Nests on the ground in small colonies of 4-5 nests. It lays 4-6 eggs, which only the female incubates. The young hatch sufficiently developed to be able to move and feed independently. It breeds one generation per year.

Bulgaria is one of the main wintering grounds of the species. Until the mid-1990s, a major part of the entire population of over 95,000 red-breasted geese wintered here regularly. At the beginning of the 21st century, there was a dramatic decline in the number of the species, with the main reasons for this being the intensification of agriculture, the construction of wind farms in key foraging grounds for the goose, habitat loss, climate change, disturbance and poaching.

Tundra Swan / Bewick`s Swan <em>(Cygnus columbianus)</em>

Tundra Swan / Bewick`s Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

The Tundra Swan looks similar to the Whooper Swan, but is smaller and has a wingspan of about 190 cm. Its plumage is pure white, and there is a yellow spot on each side at the base of the bill. Nests in the tundra of North America, northeastern Europe and Siberia. It winters in the coastal lowlands of northern Europe and eastern Asia south to Taiwan. In Bulgaria, it winters regularly mainly along the Black Sea coast, less often near reservoirs in Northern and Southern Bulgaria.

The young birds migrate together with the adults, and the family remains until the end of winter. It feeds mainly on underwater parts of plants, rarely seeds.

The species is critically endangered in Bulgaria, and in recent years its numbers have been increasing in our country.

Dalmatian Pelican <em>(Pelecanus crispus)</em>

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

The flight in the sky of one of the largest birds in Bulgaria - the Dalmatian Pelican - is impressive. Its wingspan is nearly three meters and it has the largest beak among birds. In the last 60 years, there was only one place in our country where the endangered species nested - in Lake Srebarna. But the united conservation efforts of a number of organizations and institutions have rewritten the school textbooks. Today, the curly-headed pelican nests in three places in our country - in Lake Srebarna, in the maintained reserve "Persinski Blata", part of the territory of the "Persina" nature park and in the "Kalimok-Brashlen" Protected Area.

The most remarkable thing about the appearance of the curly-headed pelican is its huge beak and its attached skin pouch. During the mating season, they turn bright red. This huge bird is also easily recognizable by its uniform white-gray coloration and curly feathers on the crown.

Nests in pools of water with extensive reed beds. The nest is a pile of grass, reeds, sticks and feathers, usually about 1 m deep and 60 cm in diameter. Most often, from the end of March to the beginning of May, the female lays two eggs, which both partners take turns incubating for 30-34 days. There is one generation per year.

Both species found in our country – the Dalmatian Pelican and the Pink Pelican – are rapidly declining and need protection. Due to drying up of wetlands, collision with power lines, poaching and bird disturbance, the planetary existence of this majestic species is still threatened.

Egyptian Vulture <em>(Neophron percnopterus)</em>

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

The Egyptian vulture is a globally endangered species with a declining population, making it one of the fastest disappearing birds on the planet. In the past, the species was widespread on the territory of Bulgaria, nesting even on the hills in Plovdiv, but today the Balkan Peninsula is home to less than 60 pairs.

The smallest and only migratory of the four vulture species found in Europe. With a wingspan of up to 180 cm and a body length of 60–70 cm, it is also known as the "little vulture". The Egyptian vulture inhabits hilly and low-mountain areas. Nests mainly on rocks and rock walls, often near populated areas. Its nests are located in rock niches, platforms, crevices. A nest is usually used for years, sometimes decades.

The bird is also famous for its intelligence. It is one of the few representatives of bird diversity in the world that uses knives. In Africa, the Egyptian vulture has been repeatedly observed using stones to break open abandoned ostrich eggs, which are also part of its menu.

Among the main threats to the species are the illegal use of poisons and poison baits in the wild, dangerous electric poles, illegal shooting, habitat loss, poaching and disturbance.

Eastern Imperial Eagle <em>(Aquila heliaca)</em>

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is one of the rarest birds both in Bulgaria and in the world. In the past, it was among the most widespread birds of prey in our country, and today its population numbers only 35 pairs. Most of them stayed in South-Eastern Bulgaria, with the largest number in Sakar.

One of the largest eagles in our country. Body sizes vary from 72 to 84 cm, and its wingspan is between 180 and 215 cm. Adult birds are dark brown, almost black, with a very characteristic golden color on the back of the head and neck. It prefers hilly and flat areas, where wooded places or groups of trees alternate with open spaces - pastures, agricultural areas, waste lands. For nesting, the golden eagle uses single or groups of tall trees growing along rivers, often in close proximity to settlements, roads and cultivated areas. The nest is located at a height between 7 and 26 m from the ground. Its thickness is from 30 to 90 cm, and its weight can reach up to 200 kg! After the second half of March and the beginning of April, the female usually lays 2, and less often 1 or 3 eggs.

The reasons for the drastic reduction of the species are many, but among the main ones are the mass slaughter of birds of prey in the 1950s and 1970s, the change of habitats and the development of intensive agriculture, which led to the reduction and disappearance of wild animals that they also serve as food for the imperial eagle. Improper use of pesticides in agriculture, illegal baiting and poaching are still the cause of the death of many eagles. In recent years, another threat to the golden eagle has been revealed, for which there was no evidence that it existed until recently. Through satellite tracking of young golden eagles, the BDSP has proven that a significant proportion of young birds die as a result of electrocution when attempting to land on unsecured power poles. 67% of the marked eagles, whose fate is known, died from electric shock on the territory of Bulgaria and Turkey.

Greater Spotted Eagle <em>(Clanga clanga)</em>

Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)

The Great Spotted Eagle is a Palearctic species. Nests in Northeast Europe, Russia and China. Its worldwide population is estimated at less than 4,000 breeding pairs. It winters in the Balkans, in Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeast Africa, South Asia, and recently in Central Europe. In our country it is a passing and wintering species.

Inhabits wooded areas, plains or river and lake shores dotted with tall trees. It can often be mistaken for its smaller relative, the lesser spotted eagle, but is distinguished by its darker brown plumage.

It hunts a wide variety of small and medium-sized animals, such as rabbits, mice, birds, reptiles, amphibians and large insects. Nesting begins in April, using the same nest every year, repairing it beforehand. It usually lays one, very rarely two eggs.

The main threats to the great bald eagle are habitat loss, poaching and electrocution.

Hen harrier <em>(Circus cyaneus)</em>

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

The Hen harrier is a critically endangered species for our country, a species that winters in our country and can be observed most often in arable lands and wetlands.

It feeds mainly on rodents and other small mammals, less often on birds and reptiles. It hunts by hovering in the air, periodically landing to rest on the ground.

It builds its nest on the ground or on a mound of soil or vegetation. The nest is made of sticks and lined with grass and leaves. It lays four to eight whitish eggs, which the female bird broods. The male helps feed the young. Young birds fly from the nest at the age of about 36 days, and reach sexual maturity at 2 years for females and 3 years for males.

Among the main threats to the species are the illegal use of poisons and poison baits, the improper use of rodenticides, poaching and electrocution when landing on dangerous electric poles.

Montagu`s Harrier <em>(Circus pygargus)</em>

Montagu`s Harrier (Circus pygargus)

The Montagu`s Harrier is a migratory species of bird of prey that winters in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. In Bulgaria, it is found mainly in the plains between Sakar and the Eastern Stara Planina and the Thracian Plain. There are isolated deposits in Zlatia, Dobruja, Sofia field, etc.

Inhabits wet meadows, arable land with cereal crops and pastures. It feeds on rodents and other small mammals, birds and reptiles.

Nests on the ground among tall vegetation such as reeds, grass, or in a bush. It lays 4-5 eggs, there is one generation per year in the period April-July. During molting and in the first days after hatching, the male brings food to the female and the young.

Intensification of agriculture, plowing of meadows and pastures, excessive use of pesticides, destruction of nests and young by agricultural machines are among the main dangers for the species in our country and around the world.

Rough-legged Buzzard <em>(Buteo lagopus)</em>

Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus)

The Rough-legged Buzzard is a wintering species for our country. It is found in Europe, Asia and North America. Inhabits tundra and steppes. Its feet are covered with feathers up to the toes, hence its other name - buzzard's underpants.

In appearance, it can easily be mistaken for a common buzzard, and sometimes it stands motionless in the air, like the kestrels. It feeds mainly on small mammals such as voles and other small rodents.

The nest is built on the ground, on rocks and less often - on trees. It usually uses the previous year's nest. It is solid, built of branches and covered with thick dry grass. She lays three to five eggs, which both parents incubate for about 28-30 days. In the first 14 days, only the mother feeds the young. Later, both parents start leaving the food just on the edge of the nest. The young fledge at 35 days of age.

Red-footed Falcon <em>(Falco vespertinus)</em>

Red-footed Falcon (Falco vespertinus)

The Red-footed Falcon or, as it is also called, the Evening Falcon, is one of the rarest birds in our country. Males have a characteristic dark blue-gray plumage, and females are light rust.

It feeds mainly on large insects, which it often catches in the air. It also hunts small rodents and birds. Inhabits steppes, grasslands and cultivated areas with strips of trees and shrubs and groups of trees.

Nests colonially in trees, also occupying artificial nests. In the absence of a suitable nest, it happens that the pair will drive magpies or even great herons from theirs, usually after a fierce fight.

Winters in Africa. The spring migration is in April, and the autumn migration is in September.

The population of the species has decreased by 30% in the last 17 years. One of the reasons for this is electrocution caused by dangerous electric poles.

Merlin <em>(Falco columbarius)</em>

Merlin (Falco columbarius)

The Merlin is a migratory bird found in most of Europe, Asia Minor and some parts of Asia. In Europe, nests on the Scandinavian Peninsula, in the Baltic countries and Russia, north of Moscow. A transient and overwintering species in our country.

Inhabits tundra, semi-tundra and coniferous forests, grasslands, wetlands.

It nests in May and June, not building its own nest but using most often an abandoned magpie nest. It lays three to six eggs, which the female incubates for about 32 days. The young leave the nest after a month, but are dependent on their parents for another four weeks. They reach sexual maturity at one year.

Saker Falcon <em>(Falco cherrug)</em>

Saker Falcon (Falco cherrug)

The Saker Falcon is the largest falcon in Bulgaria, slightly larger than the Peregrine falcon. Its body length is between 47 and 55 cm, wingspan: 105–129 cm. In our country, it is found in Stara Planina, Sredna Gora and the Rhodopes, as well as in separate areas of the Danube Plain, Dobruja and the Thracian Plain. During migration, it can most often be observed along the Black Sea. Standing and flying look.

Individuals from more northern European countries spend the winter in our country. Autumn migration is most pronounced in September. Inhabits open places near rock massifs and forests, often pastures and agricultural lands.

Like other falcons, the peregrine falcon does not build its own nests, but uses those of other birds, such as ravens, crows, buzzards, etc. It traditionally prefers nests on trees or rocks, but in recent years has adapted to using nests on electric poles.

It feeds mainly on lalugers and other mouse-like rodents and less often on birds, mainly those that inhabit the ground layer of open areas. It catches its prey mostly on the ground, and in some cases also in the air.

The Saker Falcon qualifies as a globally threatened species with a very rapid population decline, especially in Central Asian breeding grounds, due to inadequately controlled catches for the falcon trade. In Europe with approximately 450 pairs left. 40% of them are found in Hungary and Slovakia. Electrocution is known to be the main cause of mortality in 7–10% of young Saker falcons.

Great Bustard <em>(Otis tarda)</em>

Great Bustard (Otis tarda)

The Great (common) Bustard impresses with its size, coloration and mating behavior. In the past, it nested in our country, but today it is an extremely rare species, even just for observation, on our lands. In Europe, it nests in Portugal, Spain, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine and southwestern Russia.

Male representatives are among the largest and heaviest flying birds on Earth, weighing up to 18 kg., 90-105 cm high, about 115 cm long and 210-270 cm wingspan.

Nests in open plains, especially natural steppe. Demonstrates impressive group courtship displays where the males "upside down" most of their plumage, displaying and shaking all their loose white feathers, head and neck fully thrown back on their backs.

The Great Bustard is experiencing rapid population decline due to habitat loss and degradation, shooting, agricultural intensification, and collisions with power lines.

Little Bustard <em>(Tetrax tetrax)</em>

Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax)

The Bustard, also called the Little Bustard, is a bird of the bustard family. It is also found in Bulgaria, mainly in parts of Dobrudja and Sofia field. In the past, it was much more widespread in our country and probably inhabited many of the country's vast plains.

Prefers open pastures and fields, with tall enough plants to hide in. He often runs away from danger by running on the ground. In winter it gathers in flocks.

Nests on the ground, laying 2-6 eggs, which the female incubates for 20-22 days. During brooding, the male guards the nest. Matrimonial dances involve stomping your feet on the ground and jumping in the air. It feeds on terrestrial slow-moving insects and other invertebrates and small vertebrates and plant parts.

European Roller <em>(Coracias garrulus)</em>

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

In our country, the European Roller is found mainly in the Danube plain, Dobruja, the Thracian and Burgas lowlands, the lower course of the Struma river. In August, her migration to Africa begins, where she spends the winter, returning to us in April.

Usually lives in pairs. It feeds on small invertebrates, insects, worms, reptiles, sometimes catches small birds and mammals. Nests in holes in earth slopes, rock niches, stone walls, tree hollows and even concrete power pole cavities.

The population of the blue heron began to suffer a drastic decline in the 1950s. The use of pesticides in agriculture is the main reason for this. In 15 years, the species has declined by more than 30%. BDZP carries out regular monitoring of the blue jay in the country, as well as placement of artificial nests (houses) in suitable habitats in our country.