At the beginning of 2021, in one of the driest regions in Bulgaria – Dobrudzha, two nests of the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) were found. This is a significant step towards improving our knowledge about the distribution of the species in this part of the country. One of the localities has been known for years, but the nest has not been discovered so far. It is located in the protected area “Suha Reka”. The second nesting area is new, occupied in the last 2-3 years. It is located near the town of Dobrich in a seemingly unsuitable habitat – almost completely lacking water bodies within a radius of ten kilometres around the nest. Both newly discovered nests are located in oaks in old deciduous forests. In addition, in recent years in the region there is data for at least 4 more occupied territories of Black Storks.

The Black Stork is foraging (fish, amphibians) exclusively in and around wetlands. Since the 19th century, it is known that the species is rarer in Dobrudzha than in other parts of the country. By the middle of the twentieth century, the population in the country was small, nesting in remote wooded areas and becoming endangered. After 1950, the number began to increase; nesting sites appeared in the areas where it was found before, as well as in new places in the country. At the end of the twentieth century, the trend of increasing the number of breeding pairs persisted, and by 2005 the population was estimated at 300-550 pairs.

Regardless of which part of Bulgaria your research squares are in, be on the lookout for the appearance of a Black Stork. If the number of the species has increased in the most unsuitable region – Dobrudzha, what can be expected in other parts of the country where there are many more wetlands?

Mikhail Iliev