Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

Kentish Plover

(Charadrius alexandrinus)

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

Population size: 2020: 33 – 85 pairs (2007: 120 – 150 pairs)

Distribution pattern

With isolated breeding sites along the Black Sea coast only – mainly in the Burgas Wetlands (Atanasovsko Lake, Pomorie Lake, and Poda), the Varna–Beloslav Lake complex, Shabla Tuzla, and Durankulak Lake with the neighbouring beaches. Permanent breeding sites with the highest density are located in the Atanasovsko, Pomorie and Beloslav lakes.

Each year the number of the species varies greatly. Very often in different years, the birds breed in different squares, looking for the most optimal breeding conditions. This is most noticeable in the two neighbouring lakes – Atanasovsko and Pomorie, where pairs of the main breeding population of the species in the country often change their location.

Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020: During the period 2013-2020, the species was registered in all places where it was found before the year 2013. No new localities have been identified, but old ones from before 2003 have been confirmed.

Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 33-85 pairs (100% of the population). The entire breeding population of the species falls within the territory of the Natura 2000 network. The highest numbers are registered in the Special Protection Areas “Pomorie Lake” (15-40 pairs), “Atanasovsko Lake” (15-40 pairs), and “Varna-Beloslav Lake” (3-5 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 at saltpans and other shallow saltwater wetlands on saline terrains with halophytic vegetation, and in rare cases – on the banks of standing brackish waters, where it builds its nests in sandy or sandy-muddy areas. A small number of the pairs still breed on coastal (sea) beaches and sand dunes. Breeds both singly and in small colonies up to 5-6 pairs. It often breeds in mixed colonies of different species of Terns, Pied Avocets and Black-winged Stilts.

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:



Predation by stray dogs, jackals, yellow-legged gulls threatening eggs and chicks in breeding colonies. Extreme climate events because of global climate change. Destruction of nests and chicks due to technical activities in the production and extraction of salt.

Vladimir Mladenov, Ralitsa Georgieva, Mikhail Iliev