Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

Griffon vulture

(Gyps fulvus)

Category of conservation concern (IUCN, 2020) – Least Concern Population size: 2020: 124 – 125 pairs (2007: 70 – 100 pairs) Distribution pattern The autochthonous population breeds only in the Eastern Rhodopes, along the valley of the Arda River between the outflow of the Varbitsa River and the western end of the Ivaylovgrad Dam. In recent years, thanks to reintroduction programmes, the species is found in the Eastern Stara Planina, Sliven District, Western Stara Planina, and the Kresna Gorge. Wandering specimens, singly and less frequently in pairs or small groups, can be observed in other parts of the country. Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020: During the period 2013-2020, the species was established in 11 squares. In some of these squares, especially in the reintroduction sites, the exact number and distribution is difficult to be determined. New sites have been established in Southern Bulgaria, mainly between the main rock formations along the Arda River, and in Northern Bulgaria – in the Vratsa Balkans. The number of the species in the Kresna Gorge has decreased significantly due to poisoning of the colony in the spring of 2017. Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 124 -125 pairs (100% of the population). The highest numbers have been registered in the Special Protection Areas “Studen Kladenets” (59 pairs) and “Madzharovo” (33 pairs).

Карта в голям размер

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 in open rocky valleys on inland cliffs and exposed rocks, often near large rivers and dams. Of key importance for the existence of the colonies in the Eastern Rhodopes is the presence of free grazing livestock, wolf pairs and large game area with thousands of European fallow deer.

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:



Disturbance from tourists, use of poisons, collisions with wind turbines, electric shocks, taking eggs from nests, mining activities and quarry development, lead poisoning.

Dobromir Dobrev