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Location Bulgaria, Haskovo
Central coordinates 25o 57.85' East  41o 24.08' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, B2, C1, C6
Area 44,624 ha
Altitude 51 - 1,255m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The Byala river valley and neighbouring hills, situated in the eastern Rhodopi mountains in southern Bulgaria. The vegetation is rich, consisting of old broadleaved deciduous forests of Fagus, Quercus and Carpinus, and sclerophyllous scrub (pseudo-maquis) of Juniperus, Phyllirea, Paliurus and Fraxinus, with Salix trees along the riverbanks. There are also coniferous plantations and rocky outcrops. Land-uses include hunting, forestry, fishing, extensive stock-rearing and cultivation. There is a small abandoned marble quarry, but drilling for minerals and other geological investigations still go on.

Key Biodiversity The site is important for its assemblage of Mediterranean-restricted species, and is one of the most important breeding areas in Bulgaria for raptors (Aegypius monachus, Circaetus gallicus, Accipiter brevipes, Hieraaetus pennatus, Otus scops) and Lullula arborea. Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Ciconia nigra (3-4 pairs), Neophron percnopterus (2 pairs), Aquila pomarina (1-3 pairs), Dendrocopos medius (5-10 pairs).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Stork Ciconia nigra breeding  1998  12 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca resident  1998  1-2 breeding pairs  medium  A1, C1, C6  Vulnerable 
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus breeding  1998  4 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus breeding  2003  4 breeding pairs  good  C6  Endangered 
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus breeding  1998  8 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus winter  1996  15 individuals  good  A1, C1  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Scops-owl Otus scops breeding  1998  89-127 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus breeding  1998  136-326 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla breeding  1996  68-84 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus breeding  1998  8 breeding pairs  medium  A3, B2, C6  Least Concern 
Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum breeding  1998  34 breeding pairs  medium  A3, C6  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1998  37-177 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans breeding  1998  158-292 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala breeding  1998  201-231 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland  60%
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis  10%
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  2%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams  1%
Artificial - terrestrial Perennial crops, orchards and groves  27%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 29%
forestry 60%
tourism/recreation 2%
hunting 70%

Protection status National None International None

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

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