Lesser Kestrel Recovery - Greater chance for Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) in Bulgaria

LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Gradimir GRADEV
Tel: +359 32 626 977
Fax: +359 32 635 921
Email: ggradev@greenbalkans.org

Project description:


The lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a globally endangered falcon whose numbers are very low in Bulgaria. The breeding population is declining due to threats such as the loss of foraging habitats and the use of pesticides. The bird lives alongside humans and breeds in human settlements.


The overall objective of the project is to support and strengthen the populations of the globally endangered lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) in Bulgaria through a series of direct conservation measures and wider public involvement.

Specific objectives include:

  • Screening of the provisions of EU Rural Development Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy for practices affecting the lesser kestrel;
  • The identification of lesser kestrel friendly agri-environment payments within national operational programmes, and their promotion among local stakeholders and land-users;
  • The recommendation of appropriate management practices to be mainstreamed in the Natura 2000 management plans of the target sites;
  • The identification of lesser kestrel friendly construction practises and the development and dissemination of a manual among construction companies and the general public;
  • The drawing up of a lesser kestrel national action plan in order to ensure sustainability and the enforcement of the identified favourable conservation measures.
  • The project also aims to enable lesser kestrel restocking in Bulgaria, through captive breeding and the translocation of young non-fledged birds from Spain. This will be achieved through the adaptation and application of best practises for lesser kestrel conservation introduced and implemented by the Spanish associate beneficiary, DEMA.

    The beneficiary will work towards establishing a free colony of lesser kestrels in the Sakar SPA and towards creating favourable conditions for natural re-establishment in adjacent SPAs – Byala reka and Krumovitsa.

    Expected results:

  • Approved national action plans for the lesser kestrel;
  • The adoption of traditional and kestrel friendly land-use practices among a minimum of 30 land owners;
  • A newly established 10ha lesser kestrel foraging habitat in Sakar SPA and the pilot clearing of 2 ha of pastures in the Krumovitsa and Byala reka SPAs;
  • Around 170 chicks from the DEMA breeding facilities (Spain) successfully transported and accommodated in Sakar SPA;
  • A captive breeding stock of 20 lesser kestrels in the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Breeding Centre in Stara Zagora, producing some 10-60 chicks per year to supplement the release programme;
  • A total of 160-200 juvenile lesser kestrels released, or a minimum of 40 birds in the release site per year for four years (2013-2016);
  • A lesser kestrel demonstration and information centre established in the Sakar SPA;
  • More than 1 500 people introduced to the work of the project with the target species;
  • A trans-border network of experts dealing with Lesser Kestrel conservation on the Balkans.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endangered species‚  protected area‚  management plan‚  population dynamics

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)

Target species

 Falco naumanni     

Natura 2000 sites

SPA BG0002012 Krumovitsa
SPA BG0002019 Byala Reka
SPA BG0002021 Sakar



Coordinator Green Balkans - Stara Zagora
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Green Balkans is a non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on conserving, researching and restoring biodiversity in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula. Founded in 1989, it was one of the first nature conservation NGOs in Bulgaria and now has more than 4 000 members in 25 units across the country.
Partners Defensa y Estudio del Medio Ambiente (DEMA), Spain European Nature Heritage Fund, Germany


Project reference LIFE11 NAT/BG/000360
Duration 01-SEP-2012 to 01-SEP -2017
Total budget 1,377,836.00 €
EU contribution 1,033,377.00 €
Project location Yugoiztochen(Bulgaria Balgarija)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Under the same roof with the Lesser Kestrels - ho ...
Publication: Pedagogical tool Interactive game for kids
Publication: Pedagogical tool Cards for kids
Video link "Отново у дома, Част първа = Back home, part one: With joint efforts" (26')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version