Durankulashko ezero SPA



The lake is a natural coastal freshwater-brackish lake, fringed by extensive reed beds. It is located in northeastern Bulgaria over Sarmatian limestones, 6 km from the Romanian border, and east of the village of Durankulak. The lake is surrounded by farmland and steppes. Sand dunes and a beach separate it from the sea to the east. The lake has two islands, one of which is an archaeological site.

The main habitats are open water areas and very large areas of emergent aquatic vegetation, covering mainly the northern (so-called Eagle Marsh) and southwestern (so-called Vaklino channel) parts of the lake, as well as the marsh on its southeastern side. Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, Typha latifolia and Schoenoplectus triqueter dominate. Around the lake’s southwestern side are shrub associations of Paliurus spina-christi, Crataegus monogyna, Rosa canina and plantations of poplar Populus spp., Fraxinus oxycarpa, Fraxinus ornus, Prunus machaleb. Groups of white willow Salix alba trees have naturally grown among the reed-beds in the lake’s Vaklino channel.

Birds in the protected area

Durankulak lake and its adjacent territories support 260 bird species, 107 of which are listed in the Red Data Book for Bulgaria. Of the birds occurring there 110 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC), 14 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 27 in SPEC 2 and 69 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 95 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 91 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive.
Targeted studies during the period 2008 - 2013 confirmed that the area is important migration and stop over site for Saker Falcon. Migration studies also confirm regular presence of Saker Falcons on migration in Durankulak SPA. In some cases the migrants staged for about a month in the area. The Saker Falcon is also a regular wintering bird in the area, attracted by the regular congregations of passerine and waterfowl during this period. There are data allowing considering the SPA a potential site for natural recolonization of the species as a breeder.

Durankulak lake is a site of global importance for the wintering waterfowl, mainly because of the great concentrations of geese. Along with the White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), considerable numbers of Red-breasted Geese (Branta ruficollis) spend the winter there. The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus) regularly occurs among the numerous goose flocks.

The lake is one of the places with great winter concentrations of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos in the country. It is one of the few places in Bulgaria where the Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata), Demoiselle Crane (Antropoides virgo) and the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) have been recorded.

As the lake is located on the Via Pontica migration flyway and close to the Danube delta, it is one of the most important stations in the bird migration along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Especially numerous are the storks Ciconiiformes, geese Anseriformes and plovers Charadriiformes. On migration the area is used as a roost by the White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus, the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) and single Greater Spotted Eagles (Aquila clanga). The globally threatened Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) recorded in the wetland on migration. Less numerous, both in winter and on migration, are the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) and the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus).

Threats to the protected area

  • Disturbance
    A lot of tourists enter the protected area through the sand dunes during the breeding season and cause pollution of habitats and disturbance to birds.
  • Human activities
    The intensive development of tourism connected to a building of new hotels will cause deterioration and even loss of valuable habitats, as well as significant human pressure and disturbance to birds.
  • Wind turbine farms
    The SPA is under big pressure by plans for construction of wind farms.