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Location Bulgaria, Lovech
Central coordinates 25o 11.27' East  43o 40.35' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2, C1, C2, C6
Area 6,897 ha
Altitude 21 - 69m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description The eastern part of the largest Bulgarian island (Belene) along the River Danube. Three large marshes, with open-water areas partly covered by floating water-plants and fringed by reedbeds of Phragmites, Sparganium and Alisma, and which are surrounded by seasonally flooded forest (Salix, Populus) and wet meadows (Cynodon, Scirpus). There are two smaller islands (one called Kitka), also covered with flooded forest. The complex lies between kilometres 576 and 560 of the Danube. Human activities include cattle-grazing in the buffer zone of the Persinski marshes reserve, agriculture in surrounding areas and hunting (including international hunting tourism).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser passage  1999  428 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  2004  10 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Near Threatened 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus breeding  1996  60 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides breeding  1998  58 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding  1997  10 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus breeding  1996  40 breeding pairs  good  A1, C1, C6  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  2003  238 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla resident  1996  1 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida breeding  1996  40 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Belene Islands Complex Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 6,898 protected area contains site 1,714  
Belene Islands Complex - BG0002017 Birds Directive 6,897 is identical to site 6,897  
Kitka Island Reserve 25 protected area contained by site 25  
Persina Nature Park 21,762 protected area contains site 1,714  
Persina - BG0000396 Habitats Directive 22,405 protected area overlaps with site 5,306  
Persina Iztok National Monument 719 protected area contained by site 719  
Persinski Marshes Managed Reserve 385 protected area contained by site 385  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest  60%
Grassland Humid grasslands  35%
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater  5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 30%
fisheries/aquaculture 10%
forestry 55%

Protection status National Partial International None25 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Kitka Island, 25 ha). 385 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Persinski marshes, 385 ha). 719 ha of IBA covered by National Monument (Persina Iztok, 719 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Belene Islands Complex. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2014

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