Provadiisko-Royaksko Plato SPA



The Provadiysko and Royaksko plateaus are located in eastern Bulgaria, between the towns of Shumen and Provadiya. On the north and the south they border respectively on the rivers of Provadiyska and Golyama Kamchia. The area includes also the rock massifs of Nevsha –Venchan and Komunari. To the west it reaches the villages of Madara and Blagovo and to the east – the road between the villages of Grozdjovo and Barzitsa.

The region is sparsely populated and the settlements are concentrated mainly along the valleys of the rivers, limiting the area, and to a lesser extent – in the watershed of the Glavnitsa River.

Half of the SPA territory is occupied by mixed broadleaved forests with a prevalence of Quercus cerris, mixed with Quercus frainetto, Quercus polycarpa, Carpinus betulus, Carpinus orientalis and Fraxinus ornus. About one third of these forests are seminal high stand, with the appearance of the former natural mixed broadleaved forests that used to cover huge territories in this region. The remaining part of the forests is coppice with considerably changed structure.

Farmlands occupy about 47% of the region’s territory and about 13% is pasture, at places overgrown with shrubs. Rock massifs forming complexes are dispersed in several places in the region.

The birds in the protected area

The SPA Provadiysko–Royaksko plato supports 160 bird species, 53 of which are listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. The area provides suitable habitats (forests, pastures, farmlands androcky massifs) for 52 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 49 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive.

The SPA Provadiysko–Royaksko plato is one of the most important areas in the country for breeding of Egyptian Vulture, Eagle Owl, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Roller, Nightjar, and Ortolan Bunting and Barred Warbler.

The Short-toed Eagle, HoneyBuzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle and Booted Eagle also breed in the area, inconsiderable numbers. The Provadiyska river valley is a bottleneck migration site for storks and birds of prey, where more than 35,000 storks and 3,000 raptors pass and often overnight during autumn or spring migration.

Targeted studies during the period 2008 - 2013 confirmed that the area is important migration and stop over site for many raptor species, including the Saker Falcon. LIFE09NAT/HU/000384 project allocated Provadiysko - Royaksko plateau as an important area for the staging and migrating juveniles, from the Hungarian, Romanian and Ukrainian population. Satellite tagged birds from these countries were passing in different parts of the area. The individuals, which spend migration and staging period of the year in suitable habitats, are important source for natural repopulation of the area.

Threats to the protected area

  • Human activities
    The area is sensitive to human activities which cause disturbance to birds, especially to those which nests on the rocks – rock climbing, gliding, hang-gliding, tourism activities during the breeding season, as well as hunting and poaching.
  • Disturbance
    Logging and artificial afforestation, affect the quality and composition of forest habitats and cause disturbance to birds during the breeding season. Rocky habitats are threatened by illegal treasure hunting.
  • Loss of habitats
    Continuing urbanization and turning the grasslands to arable lands are the main reason for fragmentation and loss of valuable habitats.
  • Wind turbine farms
    One of the potential threats both to the habitats and to the birds in the area is the development of wind turbine farms.