Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

Common Shelduck

(Tadorna tadorna)

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

Population size: 2020: 110-206 pairs (2007: 30-50 pairs)

Distribution pattern

Predominantly along the Black Sea coast, mainly around the Burgas bay, where breeding sites are most clearly grouped in neighbouring squares. Breeds also in the Varna-Beloslav Lake Complex, in the wetlands along the Northern Black Sea coast and near Sozopol. Rarely in small inland wetlands and along the coast of the Danube River, where the species has probably bred successfully in some years. The highest concentration is found in the Burgas wetlands. In many of the squares with breeding sites, non-breeding specimens, pairs and small flocks remain throughout the summer.

Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020: In the period, 2013-2020 the species was established in 20 squares 10x10km. No visible change in the distribution of the species in the country has been registered. 


Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 95-176 pairs (85-86% of the population).

All important and regular breeding habitats of the species are found on the territory of the Natura 2000 network. The highest numbers have been registered in the Special Protection Areas “Atanasovsko Lake” (25-40 pairs), “Mandra-Poda Complex” (27-39 pairs), “Pomorie Lake” (12-25 pairs), and  “Burgas Lake” (10-21 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


Breeds on steep rocky (sea) shores; sea islands, islets, sea stacks and boulders near hyperhyline shallow estuaries, lagoons, standing brackish waters and standing fresh waters. It builds its nests in old burrows of foxes, badgers or other mammals, often in the walls of active stone or sand quarries.

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:



Poaching. Predation. Dangers for the chicks when moving them from the hatching site to the nearest wetland.

Vladimir Mladenov, Ralitsa Georgieva, Mikhail Iliev