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Location Bulgaria, Varna
Central coordinates 27o 49.00' East  43o 0.08' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iv, B1iv, B2, C1, C2, C5, C6
Area 10,076 ha
Altitude 0 - 146m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The lower reaches and estuary of the Kamchia river, with remnant riverine forests, small freshwater marshes of Phragmites and Typha along the riverbank, arable land (the former Staro-Oryachovo marshes), a beach with sand-dunes, and a sea bay. The forests are dominated by Fraxinus, Ulmus, Quercus, Acer and Alnus, with scrub of Crataegus, Cornus, Paliurus and Ligustrum, and lianas of Clematis, Smilax and Periploca.

Key Biodiversity The site is important for wintering Cygnus cygnus and is the most important breeding area in Bulgaria for Dendrocopos medius and Ficedula semitorquata. The locality is also a major migratory bottleneck site, where 60,000 or more Ciconia ciconia pass overhead each autumn.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  1997  15-170 individuals  good  C2  Least Concern 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus passage  1996  35 individuals  poor  A1, C1  Vulnerable 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla resident  2000  1 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Picus canus resident  1998  21-38 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata breeding  1996  230 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1997  60,000 individuals  good  A4iv, B1iv, C5   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kamtchia Buffer Zone 230 protected area contained by site 230  
Kamtchia Reserve 842 protected area contained by site 842  
Réserve Kamtchia UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 1,072 protected area contained by site 842  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest  40%
Shrubland Scrub  1%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Sea Open Sea  4%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Forestry plantations  36%
Coastline Sand dunes & beaches  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 34%
forestry 40%
nature conservation and research 50%
tourism/recreation 5%
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status National Partial International Partial842 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Kamtchia, 842 ha). 373 ha of IBA covered by Protected Landscape (Kamtchiyski Pyassatzi, 373 ha). 230 ha of IBA covered by Buffer Zone (Kamtchia, 230 ha). 842 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Kamtchia, 842 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kamchia Complex. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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