Atlas of nesting birds in Bulgaria

Saker falcon

(Falco cherrug)

Category of conservation concern (IUCN, 2020) – Threatened

Population size: 2020: 1-5 pairs (2007: 1-3 pairs)

Distribution pattern

Currently, a breeding locality is known in the Southern part in Central Bulgaria. In the past are known dispersed isolated breeding localities mainly in the rocky parts of Stara Planina, the mountains in Western Bulgaria, the Rhodopes, Sakar and Strandzha. During the breeding season, it is observed in some plains or hilly areas, and in higher parts of the mountains.

Population estimation for the period 2013 – 2020: In Bulgaria, at present is known one breeding site in the southeastern part of the country and the birds originate from the reintroduction programme implemented for the species. It is possible 4 – 5 pairs to be breeding in different parts of the country, in areas rich in European ground squirrel (European souslik) and medium-sized birds. Compared to the previous period, the species can be considered as extinct in some of its mountain habitats. It is possible to occupy new territories in the plains of the country, where there are suitable conditions for its breeding.

Population size in Special Protection Areas of Natura 2000: 0-3 pairs. The only known definite breeding site of the species is outside the network of the Special Protection Areas.

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 inland cliffs and exposed rocks, usually close to pastures or other open terrains with colonies of European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus), as well as on power-line structures. 

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:



Nest robbery, poisoning by baits – live pigeons smeared with poison caused by conflict with pigeon communities, destruction and degradation of food habitats, reduction of food sources, damage to breeding habitats, disturbance during the breeding season, unsecure power grid.

Dimitar Demerdzhiev, Stoycho Stoychev