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

Melnishki piramidi

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:2007-12
National legal reference of SPA designationSite classified as SPA by Council of Ministers Decision No. 802/04.12.2007 (promulgated SG 107/2007).
Explanation(s):Site classified as SPA by Council of Ministers Decision No. 802/04.12.2007 (promulgated SG 107/2007). 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 – 283/16.03.2010 (promulgated SG 29/2010).


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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)

Alpine (8.00 %) Continental (92.00 %)


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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     
BA085Accipiter gentilis     
BA086Accipiter nisus     
BA465Alectoris graeca graeca    15  20   
BA255Anthus campestris    25  30   
BA089Aquila pomarina     
BA215Bubo bubo     
BA087Buteo buteo          DD 
BA087Buteo buteo     
BA403Buteo rufinus     
BA243Calandrella brachydactyla    120  120   
BA224Caprimulgus europaeus          DD 
BA224Caprimulgus europaeus    18  20   
BA031Ciconia ciconia     
BA080Circaetus gallicus          DD 
BA080Circaetus gallicus     
BA231Coracias garrulus     
BA238Dendrocopos medius    15  15   
BA429Dendrocopos syriacus    30  40   
BA236Dryocopus martius     
BA379Emberiza hortulana          DD 
BA379Emberiza hortulana    35  40   
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA103Falco peregrinus     
BA099Falco subbuteo          DD 
BA099Falco subbuteo     
BA096Falco tinnunculus     
BA442Ficedula semitorquata     
BA092Hieraaetus pennatus     
BA439Hippolais olivetorum    10  20   
BA338Lanius collurio    150  600   
BA339Lanius minor     
BA433Lanius nubicus     
BA246Lullula arborea    70  105   
BA242Melanocorypha calandra    500  600   
BA230Merops apiaster    55  55   
BA072Pernis apivorus          DD 
BA072Pernis apivorus     
BA234Picus canus     
BA307Sylvia nisoria    11  104   
  • 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    160  160             
A218Athene noctua    30  30             
A366Carduelis cannabina    40  40             
A363Carduelis chloris    40  40             
A347Corvus monedula               
A113Coturnix coturnix    55  55             
A377Emberiza cirlus    400  400             
A382Emberiza melanocephala    400  400             
A269Erithacus rubecula    1100  1100             
A359Fringilla coelebs    1300  1300             
A244Galerida cristata    80  80             
A251Hirundo rustica    700  700             
A233Jynx torquilla    60  60             
A271Luscinia megarhynchos    300  300             
A383Miliaria calandra    600  600             
A280Monticola saxatilis    13  13             
A278Oenanthe hispanica    30  30             
A214Otus scops    15  15             
A329Parus caeruleus    80  80             
A443Parus lugubris    60  60             
A235Picus viridis    80  80             
A276Saxicola torquata               
A210Streptopelia turtur    55  55             
A311Sylvia atricapilla    600  600             
A304Sylvia cantillans    250  250             
A305Sylvia melanocephala    50  50             
A283Turdus merula    800  800             
A285Turdus philomelos    300  300             
  • 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 Melnik Pyramids cover the territory around the town of Melnik to the south of the villages Gorna Sushitsa and Paskarevo and to the north of the villages Katuntsi and Kalimantsi. It is a hilly-ridge area with heavily indented relief, well outlined short slopes with different orientation, favouring active erosion processes. The climate is transitory Mediterranean. The area is characterized by a great variety of mosaic habitats with significant Mediterranean influence. Most of the area is covered by pastures and shrubs, as well as broadleaved forests of Quercus pubescens, Quercus frainetto, Quercus cerris, and Carpinus orientalis. The Oriental Hornbeam Carpinus orientalis prevails, often forming pure forest and scrub formations or associations with Mediterranean elements of Red Juniper Juniperus oxycedris, etc. Typical for the region are the evergreen shrub communities of Phyllirea latifolia with xerothermal grass vegetation. There are small compact patches of Quercus coccifera forests as well.

4.2 Quality and importance

The region of the Melnik Pyramids supports 113 breeding bird species, 12 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria (1985). Of the birds occurring there 49 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC) (BirdLife International, 2004), 19 of them being listed in category SPEC 2 and 30 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 32 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 26 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive. The site is of global importance as a representative example of the Mediterranean biome. Five biome-restricted species, typical for the Mediterranean biome, occur there – Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala, Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum, Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica, Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans and Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala. For the Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra the region of the Melnik Pyramids is one of the most important sites in Bulgaria on a European Union level, where the species breed. The site supports considerable populations of Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus, Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla, Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria, Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum, Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio, Woodlark Lullula arborea and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis on national level. In addition to the twelve species of birds of prey, which nest in the region, the raptors, which nests in Southern Pirin regularly, use the Melnik Pyramids as hunting area.

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. Petar Iankov - Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, Bulgaria, 1111 Sofia, P.O.Box 50, phone (+359 2) 9715855, fax (+359 2) 9715856, ; B. Nikolov - CEIE, 1303 Sofia, 17A "S.Vratchanski” Str., (+3592)9808497; Dr.P.Shurulinkov - Institute of Zoology, BAS, 1 "Tzar Osvoboditel" blvd., 1000 Sofia.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;Botev, B. and Tz. Peshev, (eds). 1985. Red Data Book of Republic Bulgaria. 2: Animals. Sofia: Bulgarian Academy of Science. (In Bulgarian.);MOSV. 2005. Arhiv na zastitenite teritorii v Balgaria. Baza danni (nepubl.);Petrov, .C 1997b. Beliat shturkel (Ciconia ciconia) v Bulgaria. Prirodozashtitna poredica, Kniga 2, BDZP, Plovdiv.;Simeonov, S. 1986. Materiali vurhu razprostranenieto I gnezdovata biologia na chervenogushoto koprivarche (Sylvia cantillans (Pallas) v Bulgaria. – Ekologia. 19, 57-61.;Simeonov, S., T. Michev. 1985. Suvremenno razprostranenie I chislenost na buhala (Bubo bubo(L.) v Bulgaria. – Ekologia, 15, 60-65.;Vatev, I., P. Simeonov, T. Michev, B. Ivanov.1980. Belochelata svrachka (Lanius nubicus Lichtenstein) – gnezdiasht vid v Bulgaria. – Acta zoologica Bulgarica, 15, 115-118.;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., 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, SofiaKouzmanov, 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.;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;Simeonov, S. 1970. Uber die Verbreitung mediterraner Vogelarten in Bulgarien. – Die Vogelwelt., 91, 2, 59-67. 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 [%]

5.3 Site designation (optional)

There is only one protected area on the site’s territory – “Melnik pyramids” Nature Monument. It was designated in 1978, covers 8.5% of the site area and protects unique sandstone forms. In 1998 CORINE Site with the same name was designated because of its European value for rare and threatened habitats, plant and animal species, including birds. It covers 16.5% of the territory. In 2005 the site was designated also 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 -Blagoevgrad; Forestry Departments - Katuntsi, Petrich, Sandanski;

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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