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Location Bulgaria, Rousse
Central coordinates 25o 40.17' East  43o 40.53' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2, C1, C2, C3, C6
Area 2,738 ha
Altitude 20 - 151m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description Fish-ponds overgrown with reeds, situated close to the bank of the River Danube. The aquatic vegetation is dominated by Phragmites, Trapa, Nymphaea, as well as by Typha in some places. In the western part of the ponds there is a seasonally flooded forest of Fraxinus, Tilia, Ulmus and Acer, as well as a small river fully overgrown with shrubs, acacia and grass. The ponds are surrounded by dry hills overgrown with acacia and steppe-like vegetation. Human activities includes fishery, reed-cutting (`Other' land-use, below), and hunting.

Key Biodiversity The ponds are of global importance for breeding and migrating Aythya nyroca, migrating Phalacrocorax pygmeus and wintering Pelecanus crispus, and are one of the most important sites in Bulgaria for breeding Ixobrychus minutus. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Anser erythropus (max. 1 in winter), Branta ruficollis (max. 20 in winter), Haliaeetus albicilla (1 breeding pair; 2-7 birds along river in winter), Aquila heliaca (max. 2 on passage), Acrocephalus paludicola (max. 1 on passage). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Tadorna ferruginea (1 pair), Porzana pusilla (1 pair).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  1996  10-30 breeding pairs  good  A1, C1, C6  Near Threatened 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  1996  100-3,000 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Near Threatened 
Ixobrychus minutus breeding  1996  15-50 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Not Recognised 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  1997  12-43 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Vulnerable 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus winter  1996  10-43 individuals  good  A1, C1  Least Concern 
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmaeus passage  1996  1,400 individuals  medium  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo passage  1996  40-1,400 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Baillon's Crake Zapornia pusilla breeding  1996  1 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida breeding  1996  110-200 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger breeding  1996  5 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high very unfavourable low
Population
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Climate change and severe weather drought happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high

Artificial - aquatic   0 0 very poor (< 40%) very poor (< 40%) very unfavourable

Aythya nyroca Ferruginous Duck 20 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Ixobrychus minutus 32 3 breeding pairs 10 very unfavourable
Microcarbo pygmaeus Pygmy Cormorant 5 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Chlidonias hybrida Whiskered Tern 155 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Chlidonias niger Black Tern 5 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Batin - BG0000232 Habitats Directive 2,691 protected area overlaps with site 2,513  
Mechka Fish-ponds - BG0002024 Birds Directive 2,738 is identical to site 2,738  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland  14%
Grassland Humid grasslands  6%
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  70%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  10%
Artificial - aquatic   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 60%
hunting 70%
agriculture 16%
other 30%

Protection status National None International None

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mechka Fish-ponds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

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