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Location Bulgaria, Sofia
Central coordinates 23o 9.68' East  41o 44.43' North
IBA criteria A3, B2, B3, C6
Area 23,496 ha
Altitude 125 - 1,588m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description An area in the southern part of Kresna gorge, along the Struma river, where the slopes are steep and rocky, and covered in Mediterranean forest and shrubland. The forests are dominated by Juniperus exelsa (100-200 years old), Juniperus oxycedrus, Phyllirea and other Mediterranean tree species (Pyrus, Pistacia, Jasminum, etc.). There are also secondary Quercus forests, alluvial forests (Platanus, Celtis, Tamarix), and some forestry plantations of Pinus. Human activities are forbidden in the strict nature reserve. Grazing, mainly of goats, is allowed in the buffer zone, and forests are used for forestry and cattle-grazing.

Key Biodiversity The site is important for its assemblage of Mediterranean-restricted species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca resident  1998  30-45 breeding pairs  good  A3  Near Threatened 
Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes breeding  1998  4-7 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur breeding  2004  1,200-1,540 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Vulnerable 
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus breeding  2005  8-12 breeding pairs  good  A3, B2, C6  Least Concern 
Sombre Tit Parus lugubris resident  2003  1,350 breeding pairs  medium  B3  Least Concern 
Wood Lark Lullula arborea resident  2004  600-620 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum breeding  2000  45-60 breeding pairs  medium  A3, C6  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1996  4-5 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans breeding  1998  170-210 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Western Rock-nuthatch Sitta neumayer resident  1998  20-25 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1998  80-120 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Rock-thrush Monticola solitarius resident  2003  19 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra breeding  2003  1,050-1,350 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus resident  2000  450-900 breeding pairs  medium  B3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Moravska National Monument 185 protected area contained by site 185  
Tissata Buffer Zone 625 protected area contained by site 625  
Tissata Reserve 575 protected area contained by site 575  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Native coniferous woodland  62%
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis; Scrub  20%
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  6%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams  2%
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  2%
Artificial - terrestrial Perennial crops, orchards and groves  8%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
not utilised 40%
forestry 30%

Protection status National High International None575 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Tissata, 575 ha). 185 ha of IBA covered by National Monument (Moravska, 185 ha). 625 ha of IBA covered by Buffer Zone (Tissata, 625 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kresna Gorge. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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