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 Orsoya

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  Kn. 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 – 565/05.09.2008 (promulgated SG 84/2008).


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

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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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

No habitat types are reported for the site

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.
BA402Accipiter brevipes       
BA168Actitis hypoleucos          DD 
BA229Alcedo atthis     
BA229Alcedo atthis     
BA054Anas acuta    12   
BA056Anas clypeata       
BA056Anas clypeata    10  50   
BA052Anas crecca    40   
BA052Anas crecca       
BA050Anas penelope      20   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos      10   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos       
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    116  1160   
BA055Anas querquedula      10   
BA055Anas querquedula    290   
BA051Anas strepera    20  112   
BA051Anas strepera       
BA051Anas strepera     
BA041Anser albifrons       
BA043Anser anser     
BA043Anser anser     
BA028Ardea cinerea     
BA028Ardea cinerea    26  106   
BA028Ardea cinerea       
BA029Ardea purpurea       
BA029Ardea purpurea    38   
BA024Ardeola ralloides    33   
BA059Aythya ferina    100  261   
BA059Aythya ferina       
BA059Aythya ferina      12   
BA061Aythya fuligula    15   
BA060Aythya nyroca      10   
BA060Aythya nyroca    48  79   
BA021Botaurus stellaris     
BA021Botaurus stellaris       
BA087Buteo buteo      11         
BA087Buteo buteo           
BA087Buteo buteo             
BA403Buteo rufinus       
BA149Calidris alpina    25   
BA147Calidris ferruginea    15  23   
BA145Calidris minuta    25  100   
BA136Charadrius dubius     
BA136Charadrius dubius     
BA196Chlidonias hybridus      88   
BA196Chlidonias hybridus    20  50   
BA198Chlidonias leucopterus       
BA197Chlidonias niger    30   
BA197Chlidonias niger     
BA031Ciconia ciconia     
BA031Ciconia ciconia    40  60   
BA030Ciconia nigra    45   
BA081Circus aeruginosus       
BA081Circus aeruginosus     
BA082Circus cyaneus       
BA082Circus cyaneus     
BA084Circus pygargus       
BA231Coracias garrulus    12  12   
BA122Crex crex     
BA036Cygnus olor     
BA036Cygnus olor       
BA429Dendrocopos syriacus     
BA027Egretta alba    70   
BA026Egretta garzetta    14  234   
BA026Egretta garzetta    10  12   
BA097Falco vespertinus    10  10   
BA125Fulica atra       
BA125Fulica atra    450  800   
BA125Fulica atra      35   
BA153Gallinago gallinago    50   
BA154Gallinago media       
BA123Gallinula chloropus    41  47   
BA123Gallinula chloropus      10   
BA002Gavia arctica       
BA075Haliaeetus albicilla       
BA131Himantopus himantopus     
BA131Himantopus himantopus          DD 
BA022Ixobrychus minutus      10   
BA022Ixobrychus minutus    12  12   
BA338Lanius collurio    17  17   
BA339Lanius minor    12  12   
BA459Larus cachinnans     
BA182Larus canus          DD 
BA182Larus canus       
BA180Larus genei      20   
BA177Larus minutus       
BA179Larus ridibundus    20  400   
BA156Limosa limosa    19  34   
BA246Lullula arborea     
BA242Melanocorypha calandra     
BA230Merops apiaster    10  10   
BA160Numenius arquata       
BA023Nycticorax nycticorax    250  300   
BA094Pandion haliaetus       
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    15  110   
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo       
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus    40  180   
BA151Philomachus pugnax    11  600   
BA034Platalea leucorodia    50   
BA032Plegadis falcinellus       
BA140Pluvialis apricaria    10  10   
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
BA005Podiceps cristatus    24  130   
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
BA006Podiceps grisegena     
BA008Podiceps nigricollis     
BA120Porzana parva     
BA120Porzana parva          DD 
BA118Rallus aquaticus     
BA190Sterna caspia       
BA193Sterna hirundo    10  10   
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis    83   
BA048Tadorna tadorna       
BA161Tringa erythropus    18   
BA166Tringa glareola    51   
BA164Tringa nebularia    16   
BA165Tringa ochropus    13   
BA163Tringa stagnatilis          DD 
BA162Tringa totanus     
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
A247Alauda arvensis    10  10             
A251Hirundo rustica               
A383Miliaria calandra               
  • 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

Fishponds overgrown with hygrophyte vegetation, occupying the place of the former Orsoysko Marsh, together with the flooded territories around it. The fishponds are located in North-west Bulgaria, between the villages of Orsoya and Dobri Dol, in close proximity to the Danube. They are separated from the adjacent wet meadows by dykes. The area includes also the tree and shrub vegetation along the riverbank. In spring, during the high Danube waters a big part of the Orsoya lowland is being flooded and the water stays until mid-summer. The main habitat is the fishponds, overgrown with marsh and swampy hygrophyte vegetation. The common reed Phragmites australis and the reed mace Typha angustifolia prevail (Bondev 1991). In the deep parts of the water pools Nymphoides peltata, Hydroharis morsus-ranae and more rarely Nymphaea alba occur. Open water pools, reedbeds, swampy meadows and dry hills, at places covered by artificial poplar cultures and hygrophyte grass formations, alternate around the fishponds. The Danube banks are occupied by riverine forests of willow Salix spp. and poplar Populus spp..

4.2 Quality and importance

The extensive operation of fishponds through the years, existence of natural vegetation as well as the proximity of Danube river make the wetland one of the most important in the country for water birds. The area holds 177 bird species, 42 of which are included in Bulgaria’s Red Data Book (1985) and 53 are protected by the national legislation. Of the birds, occurring there 77 are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 5 of them being included in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 23 in category SPEC 2 and 49 in SPEC 3 as threatened in Europe. In total 45 bird species, included in Annex I of Birds Directive, as well as other migratory waterbirds, regularly occur in the fishponds. The area has global importance for the Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca, both during the breeding season and during migration, and for the Pygmy Cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus during migration. The most numerous breeding population of the Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus in Bulgaria is to be found there. The fishponds are one of the most important sites in Bulgaria on European Union Level for the breeding Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus and Purple Heron Ardea purpurea. They are one of the few places in the country where the Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena and the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis breed. Orsoya Fishponds are proposed to be included in the National Ecological Network for conservation of the habitats of a complex of 28 breeding birds and 4 more species, gathering in the region during migration.

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

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Initial proposal and description of the site made by Dr. Nikolai Petkov, Tihomir Stefanov, Anton Antonov - 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 ( BDZP/BirdLife Balgariya. 2005. “Nacionalna banka za ornitologichna informacia 1988-2005”, Balgarsko Druzhestvo za zastita na pticite;Bondev, I. 1991. Rastitelnostta na Balgariya. S. Universitetsko izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ohridski”, 183 s.;Iankov, P. 2002.(red.). Svetovno zastrasheni vidove ptitsi v Balgariya. Natsionalni planove za deystvie za opazvaneto im. Chast 1. BDZP-MOSV, Prirodozashtitna poreditsa, Kn. 4, Sofiya: 204-219.;Kostadinova, I. (sast.) 1997. Ornitologichno vazhni mesta v Balgariya. BDZP, Prirodozashtitna poreditsa. Kniga 1, BDZP, Sofiya, 176 s.;MOSV. 2005. Arhiv na zastitenite teritorii v Balgaria. Baza danni (nepubl.);Nikolov, Hr., S. Marin, A. Darakchiev. 1999. Malkiyat kormoran v Balgariya. Razprostranenie, chislenost I zaplahi. – Nauch. Tr. Plov. Univ., Animaliya, 35, 6, 67-81.;Petkov, N. 1997b. Savremenno sastoyanie na belookata potapnitsa (Aythya nyroca) v Balgariya. Diplomna rabota, Biologicheski Fakultet pri SU “Sv. Kl. Ohridski”, Sofiya, 104 s.;Petkov, N., 2004. Comparative Ecological Research of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca Guldenstaedt, 1979) and the Pochard (Aythya ferina ferina Linnaeus, 1758) During the Breeding Season in Bulgaria. PHD Thesis. BAS, Sofia, 232 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).;BirdLife International. 2005. World Bird Database – Important Birds Areas.Bulgaria. Cambridge. (unpublished);Iankov, P., N. Petkov, A. Kovachev, D. Plachiisky. (in print). Pygmy Cormorant in Bulgaria 2001/2002. Final Report.;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, SofiaMOEW. 1998. CORINE Biotopes Database of the sites of European Importance for the biodiversity. Bulgaria, MOSV (nepubl.);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.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 (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

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)

About 32% of the area of Orsoya fishponds (the fishponds themselves) has been under legal protection since 2001. The aim is to protect rare and threatened species of plants and animals. In 1998 the area was designated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The same year it was designated also as CORINE Site because of its European value for habitats, rare and threatened plant and animal species, including birds. The proposed SPA is close to a proposed Special Protection Area in Romania.


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

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

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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