Suha reka SPA



The site covers Suha Reka valley and its adjacent dry riverbeds, cliffs and rocky crests. It is located in Dobrudzha, northern of the town of Dobrich, and covers the section from the village of Karapelit on the south to the village of Kranovo on the north. The river almost entirely disappears in the karst terrain. Between the villages of Efreytor Bakalovo and Brestnitsa it forms a reservoir about 7-8 km long.

The hills along the riverbed are overgrown with oak forests, more rarely pure Quercus cerris and more often – mixed forests of Quercus cerris and Carpinus orientalis, at places with the participation of Fraxinus ornus. The open areas around the valley are occupied by agricultural lands and pastures, covered by xerothermal grass associations with the predominance of Dichantium ischaemum, Poa bulbosa, etc. and more rarely – with meso-xerothermal grasses.

The reservoir is fringed by hygrophytes and its water surface is covered at places by Lemna minor and single spots of Ceratophyllum spp. The rocks and the rocky crests are mainly limestone, with average height about 20 m and numerous niches, cornices and small caves.

The birds in the protected area

Suha reka supports 193 bird species, 58 of which are listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria.The area provides suitable habitats for 72 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 66 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive.

The site is one of the main former breeding areas of the Saker Falcon in Bulgaria. Significant numbers of migrating individuals (up to 15) were rerecorded there in the last years. Targeted studies during the period 2008-2013 confirmed that the area is important migration and stop over site for the Saker Falcon and for numbers of other raptor species. The assessment of the site within the LIFE09NAT/HU/000384 project allocated the SPA Suha Reka as one of the most important areas for the natural recolonization of the species as breeder in the country. Targeted migration studies related to potential wind farm development, also confirm regular presence of Saker Falcons on migration in Suha Reka SPA.

The SPA is also one of the most important areas in the country for the Ruddy Shelduck, the Long-legged Buzzard and the Eagle Owl, where these species breed in considerable numbers. A complex of species, typical to open and transitional habitats are presented in the area with significant breeding populations as well – the Ortolan Bunting, the Roller, the Short-toed Lark, the Woodlark, the Tawny Pipit, the Stone Curlew, the Barred Warbler, the Red-backed Shrike and the Lesser Grey Shrike.

The Suha Reka is one of the most significant corridors for the migrating birds in Dobrudzha and typical bottleneck migration site for storks and birds of prey on the Via Pontica migration route. More than 37000 storks and 5000 raptors pass through the area every year on autumn migration. Some of the birds continue to Provadiyska River Valley and some of the birds continue to Batova river valley. The site is one of most important roosting areas for migrating Red-footed Falcons.

Threats to the protected area

  • Disturbance
    The area is sensitive to human activities which cause disturbance to birds, especially to those which nests on the rocks -rock climbing, illegal treasure hunting, tourism activities during the breeding season. Poaching also cause disturbance to birds. Intensive forestry activities in the vicinity of the breeding territories, as well as illegal cutting affect the composition and quality of forest habitats and disturb the birds during the breeding season.
  • Intensive agriculture
    The agriculture in the surrounding territories is intensive with use of pesticides, and insecticides and even poison that directly affects birds or their food base. Grasslands are threatened by plugging and turning intoarable land, as well as by intensive removal of shrubs and trees.
  • Wind turbine farms
    One of the potential threats bothto the habitats and to the birds is the development of wind turbine farms.