Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

Black Stork

(Ciconia nigra)

Category of conservation concern (IUCN, 2020) – Least Concern

Population size: 2020: 725 -1140 pairs (2007: 300-550 pairs)

Distribution pattern

Relatively widespread species with a small population, dispersed from 0 m to 1500 m above sea level over almost the whole country. Breeds mainly in broad-leaved deciduous forests in lowlands and foothills, and on rocks. Rare with a small population in mountain coniferous forests. Foraging for food takes place mostly in rivers, fishponds, micro-dams and various other bodies of water. Areas of high population density are located in the Eastern Rhodopes, Sakar, the Derventa Hills, Lomovete, and the Tundzha Valley, and in some places in the Fore -Balkan basin, and the lowest – in Southwestern Bulgaria and Coastal Dobrudzha.

Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020: In the period 2013-2020 the species was not identified in 204 squares, where it was registered as breeding before the year 2013. In some of these squares, especially in Northern Bulgaria, this is due to the not enough studied regions during the reporting period. New breeding sites have been established in 118 squares, mainly in Southern Bulgaria.

Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 286- 436 pairs (39% of the population). The highest numbers have been registered in the Special Protection Areas “Sakar” (40-66 pairs), “Lomovete” (22-30 pairs), “Studen kladenets” (15 -23 pairs), “Western Strandzha” (15-25 pairs), and “Byala Reka” (14-22 pairs).

Big size map

Breeding distribution 2013 – 2020 – The distribution and the estimation of the population size of the species for the period 2013 – 2020 is presented –

Comparative distribution of the species compared to the first breeding birds atlas (Iankov, 2007): Breeding locality until 2007 | Breeding locality until 2007, confirmed after 2015 – | New breeding locality after 2015. – The breeding localities after 2015 are identified on a base of raw data from


Builds its nests on inland cliffs and exposed rocks, sometimes at the entrances of caves. About a third of the population breeds in broad–leaved deciduous forests and rarely – in alluvial and riverine forests and brush, and as an exception – in coniferous forests.

Trends in population changes for the period 2013-2020

Short-term trend of population size:


Long-term trend of population size:


Short-term trend of distribution:


Long-term trend of distribution:



Cutting old trees used for building its nests, disturbance by tourists and rock climbers, disturbance during forestry activities, death by electrocution, deterioration of the forage habitat in some rivers due to pollution and construction of hydropower plants.

Petar Shurulinkov, Volen Arkurmarev, Girgina Daskalova