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.
Standing brackish and salt water; Water fringe vegetation
Artificial - terrestrial
Arable land; Other urban and industrial areas; Perennial crops, orchards and groves; Ruderal land
Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research
Protection statusNational 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).
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BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Atanasovsko Lake. Downloaded from
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