Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

 Long-legged Buzzard

(Buteo rufinus)

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

Population size: 2020: 700 – 1000 pairs (2007: 650 – 750 pairs)


Distribution pattern

With patchy and dispersed distribution all over the country, mainly in the plains and low mountain areas. More concentrated in the Eastern Rhodopes, Sakar and the valley of the Tundzha River with the neighbouring regions, the mountains to the west and north from the Sofia Field, Vrachanska Mountain and the Iskar Gorge; the river valleys of most rivers in the Danubian Plain, including the dry valleys in Dobrudzha; along the southern slopes of Stara Planina, the region of Sashtinska Sredna Gora; and the western part of the Thracian Plain, etc. Rare in the higher parts of Rila, Pirin, Western Rhodopes, totally absent from the forested region of Strandzha.

Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020:  In some areas, such as the western part of the Thracian Plain, the species is still expanding, occupying new territories, while in others, such as the Besaparski hills and the Derventa hills, and Sakar there is a sharp decline in population in recent years, mainly due to agricultural intensification and other factors.

Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 200-300 pairs (28% of the population). The highest numbers have been registered in the Special Protection Areas “Sakar” (30-35 pairs), “Nikopol Plateau” (13 pairs), “Lomovete” (8-11 pairs) and “Sinite Kamani – Grebenets” (7-10 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 in gorges, valleys, hilly terrains, fore mountain slopes, low mountains, but also in lowlands and plains with cliffs and exposed rocks (inland), including low and easily accessible ones. Less often on sea cliffs and rocky shores (along the Northern Black Sea coast), on trees on the edges of broad–leaved deciduous forests (but also in lowland artificial pine plantations and orchards, tree and shrub plantations), in strips of trees, shrubs and patches of them, as well as on power-line structures, in abandoned quarries and eroded soil slopes.

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:



Intensification of agriculture, poisoning by baits – live pigeons smeared with poison caused by conflict with pigeon communities, direct destruction and degradation of food habitats by ploughing grasslands, mechanized removal of shrubs, reduction of food source, damage to breeding habitats, disturbance during the breeding season, unsecure power grid, intentional taking of chicks and eggs.

Dimitar Demerdzhiev, Stoycho Stoychev