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Location Bulgaria, Burgas
Central coordinates 27o 27.25' East  42o 35.18' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii, A4iv, B1i, B1iii, B1iv, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6
Area 7,209 ha
Altitude 0 - 189m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  2000  16,010 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis winter  2003  1,444 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Vulnerable 
Mute Swan Cygnus olor winter  1997  34-875 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna winter  1997  1,102-4,036 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  1996  2-88 individuals  medium  A1, C1  Near Threatened 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus passage  1996  70-260 individuals  good  C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia passage  1996  15-130 individuals  medium  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Ixobrychus minutus breeding  1996  25-30 breeding pairs  C6  Not Recognised 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  287 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Vulnerable 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  1996  158-1,695 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  2002  250 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  1996  14-565 individuals  medium  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus passage  1996  438-3,110 individuals  good  A4ii, B1iii, C2  Near Threatened 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga passage  1996  6-16 individuals  good  A1, C1  Vulnerable 
Himantopus himantopus breeding  1996  31-71 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta breeding  1996  557-725 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  1997  1,134-7,570 individuals  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus breeding  1996  70-80 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Not Recognised 
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris non-breeding  1996  1 individuals  good  A1, C1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris passage  1996  1-3 individuals  good  A1, C1  Critically Endangered 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola breeding  1997  15-20 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola non-breeding  2003  120 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis breeding  1996  10-772 breeding pairs  good  B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  1996  58-830 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1996  18-158 breeding pairs  good  C2, C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1996-2004  147,002-154,913 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv, C5   

IBA Monitoring

2007 low very unfavourable low

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet 450 150 breeding pairs 34 very unfavourable
Charadrius alexandrinus 80 7 breeding pairs 9 very unfavourable

Some of site covered (10-49%)  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Atanasovo Lake Managed Reserve 1,050 protected area contained by site 1,050  
Atanasovo Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,404 protected area contained by site 1,404  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
BSPB Bourgas Branch 0


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Humid grasslands; Mesophile grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish and salt water; Water fringe vegetation  major
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Other urban and industrial areas; Perennial crops, orchards and groves; Ruderal land  -
Coastline Salt marshes  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%
agriculture 1%
other 99%
urban/industrial/transport 1%

Protection status 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).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Atanasovsko Lake. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife