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

Ostrov Vardim

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).
Date site proposed as SCI:2007-03
Date site confirmed as SCI:2008-12
Date site designated as SAC:2021-03
National legal reference of SAC designation:Designation Order No. RD – 273/ 31.03.2021 (promulgated SG 43/2021) issued by the Minister of Environment and Water.
Explanation(s):Site classified as SPA by Council of Ministers Decision No. 122/02.03.2007 (promulgated SG 21/2007) overlapping with pSCI BG0000204 “Vardim” adopted by the same Council of Ministers Decision. Issued designation order by the Minister of Environment and Water with prohibitions and restrictions on activities contradicting the conservation objectives of the SPA – Order No. RD – 560/05.09.2008 (promulgated SG 84/2008). With Council of Ministers Decision № 335/26.05.2011 (promulgated SG 41/2011) changes in the boundaries of SCI BG0000204 “Vardim” were adopted, so that its boundaries completely coincide with those of SPA BG00002018 “Ostrov Vardim” and a C–type site was formed. After the change only the name and site code of the SPA are retained. Issued by the Minister of Environment and Water designation Order No. RD – 273/ 31.03.2021 (promulgated SG 43/2021) with prohibitions and restrictions on activities contradicting the conservation objectives of the site.


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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
BG32Severen tsentralen

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Continental (100.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
6430  info      3.07  0.00 
91E0  info      151.86  0.00 
91F0  info      128.31  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • 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)

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.
BA168Actitis hypoleucos       
BA229Alcedo atthis    10   
F4125Alosa immaculata    13453  13453 
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    350   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos      305   
BA041Anser albifrons      123   
BA041Anser albifrons      68   
BA043Anser anser      15   
BA089Aquila pomarina     
BA028Ardea cinerea       
BA028Ardea cinerea    20   
F1130Aspius aspius    1789  1789 
A1188Bombina bombina    localities 
BA136Charadrius dubius    13   
BA031Ciconia ciconia    10  10   
BA031Ciconia ciconia     
BA030Ciconia nigra    10   
BA080Circaetus gallicus    10  10   
F1149Cobitis taenia    4545240  4545240  area 
I4045Coenagrion ornatum    localities 
BA231Coracias garrulus     
BA236Dryocopus martius     
BA027Egretta alba       
BA027Egretta alba       
BA026Egretta garzetta      25   
BA026Egretta garzetta    10  10   
R5194Elaphe sauromates        localities  DD 
R1220Emys orbicularis    localities 
F2484Eudontomyzon mariae    2489500  2489500  area 
BA511Falco cherrug       
BA099Falco subbuteo          DD 
BA099Falco subbuteo     
BA096Falco tinnunculus     
BA096Falco tinnunculus          DD 
BA097Falco vespertinus          DD 
F2555Gymnocephalus baloni    3923430  3923430  area 
F1157Gymnocephalus schraetzer    4378800  4378800  area 
BA075Haliaeetus albicilla       
BA022Ixobrychus minutus       
BA338Lanius collurio    20  20   
BA339Lanius minor     
BA459Larus cachinnans    40  48   
BA182Larus canus       
BA176Larus melanocephalus     
BA179Larus ridibundus    30  750   
BA179Larus ridibundus       
BA156Limosa limosa     
M1355Lutra lutra   
BA070Mergus merganser       
BA230Merops apiaster          DD 
BA073Milvus migrans     
BA023Nycticorax nycticorax       
BA094Pandion haliaetus     
F2522Pelecus cultratus    4480000  4480000  area 
BA072Pernis apivorus    10  10   
BA072Pernis apivorus     
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo      31   
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    98   
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus       
BA393Phalacrocorax pygmeus      35   
BA034Platalea leucorodia       
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
F5339Rhodeus amarus    4520000  4520000  area 
F5329Romanogobio vladykovi    4483600  4483600  area 
R1219Testudo graeca    localities 
BA165Tringa ochropus       
BA163Tringa stagnatilis       
BA162Tringa totanus     
A1993Triturus dobrogicus        localities  DD 
F1160Zingel streber    4476600  4476600  area 
F1159Zingel zingel    4476600  4476600  area 
  • 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
Acipenser gueldenstaedti                   
Acipenser ruthenus                   
Acipenser stellatus                   
Acrocephalus arundinaceus                   
Acrocephalus schoenobaenus                   
Acrocephalus scirpaceus                   
Asio otus                   
Barbus barbus                   
Bufo viridis                   
Carduelis carduelis                   
Carduelis spinus                   
Coccothraustes coccothraustes                   
Coluber caspius                   
Crocidura leucodon                   
Crocidura suaveolens                   
Cuculus canorus                   
Cyprinus carpio                   
Dendrocopos major                   
Dendrocopos minor                   
Emberiza cia                   
Erinaceus concolor                   
Felis silvestris                   
Glaucopsyche alexis                   
Heteropterus morpheus                   
Huso huso                   
Hyla arborea                   
Lacerta trilineata                   
Lacerta viridis                   
Locustella luscinioides                   
Luscinia luscinia                   
Motacilla alba                   
Motacilla flava                   
Mustela nivalis                   
Nannospalax leucodon                   
Natrix tessellata                   
Neomys anomalus                   
Oriolus oriolus                   
Parus major                   
Pelobates fuscus                   
Pelobates syriacus                   
Phylloscopus bonelli                   
Phylloscopus collybita                   
Phylloscopus sibilatrix                   
Phylloscopus trochilus                   
Podarcis taurica                   
Prunella modularis                   
Rana dalmatina                   
Silurus glanis                   
Sitta europaea                   
Stizostedion volgense                   
Sylvia borin                   
Sylvia communis                   
Sylvia curruca                   
Syngnathus abaster                   
Troglodytes troglodytes                   
Vipera ammodytes                   
  • 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 site includes an island on the Danube river and an adjacent smaller island. The island of Vardim is the third biggest Bulgarian island along the Danube. It is situated on the Danube River from km 546 to km 542, east of the town of Svishtov and north of the village of Vardim. Some of its banks are surrounded by sand shallows. It is formed by fluvial alluvium. In case of high waters it is overflowed. It is covered by willows, hybrid poplars, elms and Vardim Oaks. Vardim Island is almost entirely covered with natural riparian forest, which in its western part was cut and turned into poplar plantation. The main habitat on the island is a natural floodplain forest with complex structure. Unique for the site is the association of Quercus robur, Quercus pedunculiflora and Ulmus laevis. In the oak part of the forest there is undergrowth with the participation of Amorpha fruicosa, etc. The rest of the island is dominated by White /Populus alba/ and Black Poplar /Populus nigra/ and the vegetation there has poorer species composition compared with that on the Danube banks. The open grasslands occupy a relatively small area. In the period of high spring waters the island gets flooded, but during the rest of the year it remains dry. Temporary sand strips with no vegetation appear in its western and eastern parts (Doykov 1990; Ivanov 1993).

4.2 Quality and importance

Floodplain forests of oak and Field Elm in combination with willow galleries. The only floodplain oak forests in this region, although they are with highly fragmented distribution on the island. Vardim Island is included in the Strategy for restoration of the Bulgarian islands along the Danube. Despite the long delay its implementation is necessary. In section "Environmental information - other important species”, species justified by "A-National "are not necessarily included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria as its latest edition is too old (1985), not updated and with no legal value. Species indicated by "A-National" are protected species of flora and fauna by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Act, and therefore this motivation is given highest priority. The Sabanejewia aurata found within the site has recently been identified as Sabanejewia balcanica, derived from Sabanejewia aurata balcanica subspecies.Vardim Island is a representative area for birds dependent on riverine forests habitats. It supports 75 bird species, 21 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 31 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 2 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 11 in SPEC 2 and 18 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The international importance of Vardim Island is determined by the fact, that it is one of the five most valuable Bulgarian sites for the breeding Cormorant /Phalacrocorax carbo/, Night Heron /Nycticorax nycticorax/ and Spoonbill /Platalea leucorodia/, that form considerable colonies there. By 1985 the Pygmy Cormorant /Phalacrocorax pygmeus/, Squacco Heron /Ardeola ralloides/ and Glossy Ibis /Plegadis falcinellus/ also used to breed there (Grimmett, Jones 1989), but in recent years this is no longer the case. Recently the White-tailed Eagle /Haliaetus albicilla/ breeds again on the island.

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 Emil Todorov, Svilen Cheshmedjiev - Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, 1111 Sofia, P.O.Box 50,; Valentina Fidanova, Mladen Angelov - Green Balkans Federation, Plovdiv, .Initially listed 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.);Doykov, V. 1990. Ostrov Vardim. – Priroda. S., BAN, 2, 43-44;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.;Ivanov, B. 1993. Belenski kompleks. – V: Natsionalen plan za prioritetni deystviya za opazvane na nay-znachimite vlazhni zoni v Balgariya. Michev, T. (red.). S., MOS, 14-17.;Iordanov, G. 2002. Model proposal for the Vardim Island Special Protected Area. Report on filling in the Standart Data Form of the European Commission for proposal of oinclusion of site in the NATURA 2000 network. BSPB. Svistov, Kostadinova, I. (sast.) 1997. Ornitologichno vazhni mesta v Balgariya. BDZP, Prirodozashtitna poreditsa. Kniga 1, BDZP, Sofiya, 176 s.;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;Kotseva, S., N. Petkov,. 1997. Ostrov Vardim. V: “Ornitologichno vazhnite mesta v Balgariya “. BDZP, Prirodozashtitna poreditsa. Kniga 1. Kostadinova, I.(sast.) BDZP, Sofiya str. 77-78.;Miteva, T., 1993. Prouchvaniya na Dunavskata ornitofauna v rayona na grad Svishtov I ostrov Vardim. Diplomna rabota, PU “P. Hilendarski”, Plovdiv, 115 str.;Miteva, T. 1994. Ekspeditsiya “Ostrov Vardim 93”. – Priroda I znanie, 5/94: 32-34.;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.;Petrov, .Tz. 1997b. Beliyat shtarkel (Ciconia ciconia) v Balgariya. Prirodozashtitna poreditsa, Kniga 2, BDZP, Plovdiv.;Tsanov, Tz., 1992 “Zalivnite gori po Dunavskoto porechie”.;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);Grimmet, R. F. A., R. T. A. Jones. 1989. Important Bird Areas in Europe. Cambridge, U.K.: ICBP (ICBP Technical Publication No9);Heath, M.F. and Evans, M.I., eds. 2000. Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority sites for conservation, vol. 2 Southern Europe. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8).;Iankov, P., N. Petkov, A. Kovachev, D. Plachiisky. (in print). Pygmy Cormorant in Bulgaria 2001/2002. Final Report.; Kouzmanov, G. 1996. L`Aigle pomarin Aquila pomarina en Bulgarie. – In: Meyburg, B.-U. & R. D. Chancellor eds. Eagle Studies. World Working Group on Birds of Prey (WWGBP), Berlin, London & Paris, 319-326.;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;MOEW. 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;Walczky, 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, 12-16Waliczky, 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;Data revised by a team of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences ( New data provided by project "Mapping and assessment of the conservation status of the natural habitats and species - Phase 1" (see link).


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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 9% of the area is protected by law through designation of the “Staria Dab” protected area in 1971. The aim is to protect the unique oak forest. In 1998 Vardim Island is appointed as CORINE Site because of its European value for habitats, rare and threatened plant and animal species, including birds. In 1989 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: Veliko Tàrnovo; Danubean River Basin Directorate; Forestry Department - Svishtov;

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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Map delivered as PDF in electronic format (optional)