Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Ribarnitsi Chelopechene

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Ministry of Environment and Water, “National Nature Protection Service” Directorate
Address:  Sofia  22    Sofia    1000  Maria Luiza Blvd.

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site classified as SPA:2007-03
National legal reference of SPA designationSite classified as SPA by Council of Ministers Decision No. 122/02.03.2007 (promulgated SG 21/2007).
Explanation(s):Site classified as SPA by Council of Ministers Decision No. 122/02.03.2007 (promulgated SG 21/2007). Issued designation order by the Minister of Environment and Water with prohibitions and restrictions on activities contradicting the conservation objectives of the site – Order No. RD – 553/05.09.2008 (promulgated SG 83/2008).


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km]:


2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Continental (100.00 %)


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3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA085Accipiter gentilis               
BA085Accipiter gentilis               
BA086Accipiter nisus               
BA293Acrocephalus melanopogon         
BA168Actitis hypoleucos    30     
BA229Alcedo atthis       
BA229Alcedo atthis         
BA054Anas acuta           
BA054Anas acuta      10     
BA056Anas clypeata    80     
BA056Anas clypeata         
BA052Anas crecca    60     
BA052Anas crecca    12  55     
BA050Anas penelope         
BA050Anas penelope    27  27     
BA053Anas platyrhynchos       
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    13  232     
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    210     
BA055Anas querquedula       
BA055Anas querquedula    150  150     
BA051Anas strepera      19     
BA041Anser albifrons           
BA041Anser albifrons      50     
BA043Anser anser         
BA043Anser anser           
BA089Aquila pomarina         
BA028Ardea cinerea    38     
BA028Ardea cinerea    35     
BA028Ardea cinerea    40  80     
BA029Ardea purpurea       
BA024Ardeola ralloides       
BA024Ardeola ralloides       
BA169Arenaria interpres       
BA059Aythya ferina    23  50     
BA059Aythya ferina         
BA061Aythya fuligula    10  10     
BA061Aythya fuligula       
BA062Aythya marila         
BA060Aythya nyroca    26     
BA060Aythya nyroca         
BA021Botaurus stellaris         
BA021Botaurus stellaris       
BA021Botaurus stellaris       
BA067Bucephala clangula       
BA087Buteo buteo               
BA087Buteo buteo             
BA149Calidris alpina         
BA147Calidris ferruginea    20  200     
BA145Calidris minuta    20  20     
BA136Charadrius dubius    10  20     
BA136Charadrius dubius    10     
BA196Chlidonias hybridus    50     
BA197Chlidonias niger    120     
BA031Ciconia ciconia    120     
BA030Ciconia nigra    30     
BA080Circaetus gallicus       
BA081Circus aeruginosus    10     
BA082Circus cyaneus         
BA082Circus cyaneus       
BA038Cygnus cygnus         
BA036Cygnus olor         
BA036Cygnus olor      17     
BA429Dendrocopos syriacus       
BA236Dryocopus martius         
BA027Egretta alba         
BA027Egretta alba    30     
BA026Egretta garzetta    25  25     
BA026Egretta garzetta       
BA099Falco subbuteo             
BA096Falco tinnunculus               
BA096Falco tinnunculus             
BA097Falco vespertinus       
BA125Fulica atra    150  250     
BA125Fulica atra    55     
BA125Fulica atra    10  10     
BA123Gallinula chloropus      11     
BA123Gallinula chloropus    20  20     
BA130Haematopus ostralegus         
BA131Himantopus himantopus       
BA022Ixobrychus minutus    13  13     
BA022Ixobrychus minutus       
BA338Lanius collurio       
BA338Lanius collurio       
BA459Larus cachinnans    10  15           
BA180Larus genei         
BA179Larus ridibundus    20  400     
BA179Larus ridibundus    50  102     
BA156Limosa limosa    20  20     
BA068Mergus albellus      10     
BA070Mergus merganser         
BA058Netta rufina       
BA058Netta rufina           
BA023Nycticorax nycticorax      20     
BA023Nycticorax nycticorax    30  61     
BA094Pandion haliaetus         
BA019Pelecanus onocrotalus         
BA072Pernis apivorus         
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo       
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus       
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus    33     
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus    23  70     
BA151Philomachus pugnax    50     
BA234Picus canus         
BA032Plegadis falcinellus    15  17     
BA141Pluvialis squatarola         
BA005Podiceps cristatus         
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
BA005Podiceps cristatus         
BA008Podiceps nigricollis         
BA008Podiceps nigricollis           
BA120Porzana parva         
BA119Porzana porzana       
BA121Porzana pusilla       
BA121Porzana pusilla       
BA118Rallus aquaticus         
BA118Rallus aquaticus    15  15     
BA132Recurvirostra avosetta           
BA190Sterna caspia         
BA193Sterna hirundo    10  60     
BA193Sterna hirundo         
BA191Sterna sandvicensis       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis    60     
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis    20     
BA048Tadorna tadorna      40     
BA161Tringa erythropus       
BA166Tringa glareola    20  50     
BA164Tringa nebularia       
BA165Tringa ochropus       
BA165Tringa ochropus         
BA163Tringa stagnatilis       
BA162Tringa totanus       
BA142Vanellus vanellus    15     
BA142Vanellus vanellus       
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
A113Coturnix coturnix                   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

The fishponds of Chelopechene are located immediately next to the Chelopechene residential area of Sofia and the city’s ring road. The site is limited by the Lesnovska river and the military barracks on the south, arable plots on the north, the ring road of Sofia on the west and the road to Kremikovtsi on the east. The fishponds have a total area of 73 ha, 60 ha of which are open water. Their banks and dykes are overgrown with reed Phragmites australis and reed mace Typha latifolia. The open water surface is partly covered by Ceratphyllum demersum and Potamogeton spp. Belts of poplar Populus spp., willow Salix spp. and acacia Robinia pseudoacacia grow around them. The ponds’ water level varies depending on their exploitation regime. Presently they are private property.

4.2 Quality and importance

Chelopechene fishponds supports 134 bird species, 31 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 58 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 2 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 13 in SPEC 2 and 43 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. With their key location – midway on the migratory flyway following the Iskar gorge, through the Sofia plain to the Struma river valley – the fishponds are an important station for many migratory waterfowl, songbirds and birds of prey that roost and feed there. Besides, they substitute in away the former natural marshlands that used to exist on this place and they are one of the most important sites in the country on a European Union scale for the conservation of the Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla that breeds there. The fishponds are quite important also for the breeding Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus and the globally threatened Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca. The fishponds are an important wintering site for the Bittern Botaurus stellaris and the Great White Egret Egretta alba, in the Sofia plain, as well as a valuable trophic base for the Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, the White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus, the Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and the globally threatened Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus on migration and in winter.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.5 Documentation

Initial proposal and description of the site made by I. Nikolov - CEIE, 1303 Sofia, 17A S. Vratchanski St., Bulgaria, (+3592) 9808497; M. Gramatikov - Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Bulgaria, 1111 Sofia, P.O.Box 50, phone (+359 2) 9715855, fax (+359 2) 9715856, . Data revised by a team of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences ( Documents: BDZP/BirdLife Balgariya. 2005. “Nacionalna banka za ornitologichna informacia 1988-2005”, Balgarsko Druzhestvo za zastita na pticite; Botev, B. and Tz. Peshev, (eds). 1985. Red Data Book of Republic Bulgaria. 2: Animals. Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Science. (In Bulgarian.); Nikolov, Ch. 2002. Nabliudenie na sredna pustrushka (Porzana parva). – Za pticite, 1, 11.; Petkov, N. 1997b. Suvremenno sustoianie na belookata potapnica (Aythya nyroca) v Bulgaria. Diplomna rabota, Biologicheski Fakultet pri SU “Sv. Kl. Ohridski”, Sofia, 104 s.; Iankov, P. 2002.(red.). Svetovno zastrasheni vidove ptici v Bulgaria. Nacionalni planove za dejstvie za opazvaneto im. Chast 1. BDZP-MOSV, Prirodozashtitna poredica, Kn. 4, Sofia: 204-219.; Levkova, D. 1989. Recent Status of Some Wetlands in Sofia Plain. Diploma Thesis. Sofia University “K. Ohridski”, 85 pp. (In Bulgarian); BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, 695pp. Birdlife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: Population estimates, trends and conservation status. Cambridge, UK: Birdlife International (Birdlife Conservation Series No. 12).373pp.; BSPB/BirdLife International. 2005. World Bird Database – Important Birds Areas.Bulgaria. Cambridge. (unpublished); Guidelines for evaluation of protected zones according, which include habitats for birds to art.7, par.3, under the art.6 par.1.3 and 1.4 of the Biodiversity Act. 2005. (In Bulgarian.); Kostadinova, I., S.Dereliev. 2001. Results the Mid-Winter Counts of Waterbirds in Bulgaria for the period 1997- 2001. BSPB Conservation Series. Book 3, BSPB, Sofia, BG; Kostadinova, I., M. Mihailov, (comp.) 2002. Guide for NATURA 2000 in Bulgaria. BSPB nature conservation series No5. BSPB, Sofia, 80pp. (In Bulgarian.); Kostadinova, I. 2005. Application of C criteria for Identification of Important Bird Areas of European Union importance in Bulgaria. Preliminarily implementation and analysis of the gaps. – In: Petrova, A. (ed.), Current state of Bulgarian biodiversity – problems and perspectives. Pp. 533-548. Bulgarian Bioplatform, Sofia Michev, T., Tz. Petrov, L. Profirov. 1989. Status, breeding, distribution, numbers and conservation of the White Stork in Bulgaria; Nankinov, D., P. Shurulinkov, I. Nikolov, B. Nikolov, S. Dalaktchieva, I.Hristov, R. Stanchev, A. Rogev, A. Dutsov, M. Sarov. 1998. Studies of the Waders (Charadriiformes) on the Wetlands around Sofia (Bulgaria). Riv. Ital. Orn., Milano, 68, 1: 63-83 Osieck, E. 2000 Filling in the requirements of the EU Birds Directive: Lessons from the ‘Dutch Case’“. In: European IBA Workshop. 29 March - 2 April 2000, Brussels, Belgium. Proceedings. BirdLife International, 86-99; Petkov, N. 1998a. Current Status of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) in Bulgaria. – Partimadar, 6-7, MME, Budapest, 44–49.; Petkov, N., 2004. Comparative Ecological Research of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca Guldenstaedt, 1979) and the Pochard (Aythya ferina Linnaeus, 1758) During the Breeding Season in Bulgaria. PHD Thesis. BAS, Sofia, 232 pp. (In Bulgarian.) Waliczky, Z. 2000 “Important Bird Areas of European Union Importance: explanation of the EU Criteria applied in IBA 2000“ In: European IBA Workshop. 29 March - 2 April 2000, Brussels, Belgium. Proceedings. BirdLife International, 12-16


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level:

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites:

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other IBA=100.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

Chelopechene fishponds are not protected by national nature conservation legislation. In 2005 the area was designated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

Organisation:Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water - Sofia; Danubean River Basin Directorate;

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation



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