Orizishta Tsalapitsa SPA



The Tsalapitsa rice-fields are located in the Upper Thracian Plain, between the village of Tsalapitsa and the town of Saedinenie. The site is split by the road connecting the two settlements. To the south it borders on Trakia Highway, to the east - on the railway Plovdiv - Saedinenie. The site’s western border coincides with that of the municipality and its northern one passes several kilometers south of the town of Saedinenie. It is a complex of flooded plots used for growing rice, surrounded by low dykes and canals, including the surrounding wet meadows. At certain places the canals are overgrown with reed Phragmites australis and reed mace Typha sp. The rice pans have different water level and create conditions for bird species that have narrowly specialized feeding routine.

Birds in the protected area

According to the management plan for the Tsalpitsa Rise-fields SPA, elaborated in 2013, 155 bird species occur in the area, 46 of which are breeding, 108 are migrating, 57 wintering species and 24, which stage here during summer. The area provides suitable habitats for 48 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act and in Annex I of the Birds Directive. The Tsalapitsa Rice-fields are one of the most important breeding sites of the Collared Pratincole Glareola pratíncola in the Upper Thracian Plain and a concentration site for the Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachínans. It is also important for a number of waterfowl species in the breeding season, during migration and partially - in winter, as Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Little Egrett Egretta garzetta, Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus, Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida.

Targeted studies confirmed regular presence of Saker Falcons both during winter and breeding season in Tsalapitsa Rice-fields SPA in the period 2009 - 2013. Field studies, carried out for the purpose of the elaboration of the management plan also confirmed regular presence of 2 – 4 individuals, which use the area as foraging territory. Tsalapitsa Ricefields is very promising potential breeding site for the Saker Falcon in Thracian plain, due to the abundance of prey animals.

Threats to the protected area

  • Agricultural activities
    The intensification of the rise production through use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals change to water quality and chemistry and cause deterioration of the habitats.
  • Human activities
    Cutting down of trees and bushes along the dykes limit the possibilities for birds to find suitable nesting grounds. Other threats present at site are the intensive collection of frogs and killing of amphibians through drainage of the canals, which cause of decreasing the food base for the many of the bird species.