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Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse Myomimus roachi distribution and conservation in Bulgaria

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  • Ministry of Environment and Water, Sofia, Bulgaria

Abstract and Figures

The Roach's mouse-tailed dormice (Myomimus roach!) is an endangered mammal in Europe with poorly known distribution and biology in Bulgaria. Cranial remains of 15 specimens were determined among 30532 mammals in Barn Owl (Tyto alba) pellets in 35 localities from 2000 to 2008 and 32941 mammals in Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) pellets in 59 localities from 1988 to 2011 in SE Bulgaria. This dormouse was present with single specimens in 11 localities and whit 4 specimens in one locality. It is one of the rarest mammals in the region that forms only up to 1% by number of mammalian prey in the more numerous pellet samples. The existing protected areas ecological network covers six out of 15 (40%) localities where the species has been detected in the last two decades. We discuss the necessity of designation of new Natura 2000 zones for the protection of the Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse in Bulgaria.
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Published by Associazione Teriologica Italiana Volume 23 (2): 67–71, 2012
Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy
Availableonline at:
http://www.italian-journal-of-mammalogy.it/article/view/4779/pdf doi:10.4404/hystrix-23.2-4779
Research Article
Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse Myomimus roachi distribution and
conservation in Bulgaria
Boyan Milcheva,
, Valeri Georgievb
aUniversity of Forestry; Wildlife Management Department, 10 Kl. Ochridski Blvd., BG-1765 Sofia, Bulgaria
bMinistry of Environment and Water, 22 Maria Luisa Blvd., BG-1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
Keywords:
Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse
Myomimus roachi
distribution
conservation
Bulgaria
Article history:
Received: 19 January 2012
Accepted: 3 April 2012
Acknowledgements
We thank A. Kovachev and M. Slavchev for
their help in the field. Thanks to anonymous
reviewers for their valuable comments. The
study has been done with the financial support
of J. Menzel and H. Frey. Investigations were
carried out under grant B-302/1993 of the
National Fund for Scientific Research (1994-
1996). This study complies with the current
laws in Bulgaria.
Abstract
The Roach’s mouse-tailed dormice (Myomimus roachi) is an endangered
mammal in Europe with poorly known distribution and biology in Bulgaria.
Cranial remains of 15 specimens were determined among 30532 mammals
in Barn Owl (Tyto alba) pellets in 35 localities from 2000 to 2008 and 32941
mammals in Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) pellets in 59 localities from 1988 to
2011 in SE Bulgaria. This dormouse was present with single specimens in
11 localities and whit 4 specimens in one locality. It is one of the rarest
mammals in the region that forms only up to 1% by number of mammalian
prey in the more numerous pellet samples. The existing protected areas
ecological network covers six out of 15 (40%) localities where the species
has been detected in the last two decades. We discuss the necessity of
designation of new Natura 2000 zones for the protection of the Roach’s
mouse-tailed dormouse in Bulgaria.
Introduction
The Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse (Myo-
mimus roachi) is a poorly known endemic mam-
mal in the Northeastern Mediterranean region
with around 50 animals in collections. It has
a limited distribution in Europe - SE Bulgaria,
Turkish Thrace, and three localities in western
Turkish Anatolia (Kryštufek, 2011; Kurtonur
and Ozkan, 1991; Peshev et al., 2004; Temple
and Cuttelod, 2009). The species inhabits ex-
tensively managed semi-open agricultural hab-
itats with trees or bushes such as orchards,
Corresponding author
Email addresses: boyan.m@abv.bg (Boyan Milchev),
nnpsf@moew.government.bg (Valeri Georgiev)
vineyards, hedgerows and boundaries of fields
(Kryštufek, 2011; Peshev et al., 2004). This
dormouse is active from the first half of April
to the second half of November and produces
one litter per year. Copulations are probably
around the end of April and the first half of
May, with births from late May to June. Young
females can have 5-6 young per litter but older
ones might have larger litters (Buruldag and
Kurtonur, 2001). Its conservation status is “vul-
nerable” with decreasing population trend ac-
cording to IUCN (Kryštufek, 2011), but “en-
dangered” at European level, and “data defi-
cient” for European Union (Temple and Terry,
2007). The Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse is
Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy ISSN 0394-1914 14th January 2013
©CC
2013 Associazione Teriologica Italiana
doi:10.4404/hystrix-23.2-4779
Hystrix, It. J. Mamm. (2012) 23(2): 67–71
protected by law in Bulgaria and the areas where
it occurs should be preserved through institution
of protected areas. It is one of the priority
“vulnerable” mammals for the existing Natura
2000 protected zones since 2007 when Bulgaria
joined the European Union (Golemanski, 2011).
This study presents new Roach’s mouse-tailed
dormouse localities based on its presence in owl
pellets and their place within the protected areas
ecological network in SE Bulgaria.
Study Area and Methods
The study area (10000 km2) contains hilly and plane
territories delimited by the Maritza and Sazliyka
rivers in the West, the border with Turkey in the south,
the Black sea coast in the east and the foothills of
the Hisar Hills (highest peak 515 metres), Bakadzhik
Hills (403 metres) and St. Iliyski Hills (416 metres)
in the north (Fig. 1). The region lies within the Trans-
itory Mediterranean Climatic Zone (Galabov, 1982).
Deciduous forests predominated by oaks Quercus sp.
cover most of the border Strandzha Mountains (1031
metres in Turkey), and mainly on hilltops and steeper
slopes of the Derventski Hills (556 metres) and the
Sakar Mountain (856 metres). Uncultivated open
lands are dominated by dry grassland formations,
often combined with Christ’s thorn (Paliurus spina-
christi). They had been used by the traditional extens-
ive pasture livestock husbandry which has dropped
down sharply since 1991/1992. Most of those lands
are abandoned now. Farmland on slopes, between
hills and along the river valleys is sown mainly with
wheat, barley and sunflower, or occasionally with
vineyards, tobacco, vegetables etc. Most infertile
land in montane areas along the Turkish border has
been abandoned within the past 10-15 years after
the restitution of land ownership. Its cultivation
has been renovated since Bulgaria became part of
the EU. The human settlements are mostly villages,
with the exception of few small towns, without any
strongly developed industry. There are thermoelectr ic
power plants between the western border of the area
and foothills of Mt. Sakar (see also Milchev 1994,
2009a). The human population has steadily decreased
especially in the southern border areas. The network
of protected areas includes territories designated ac-
cording to the national Protected Areas Act and pro-
tected zones according to the Biodiversity Act which
implement the EU Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats)
and the Directive 2009/147/EC (Birds) (Natura 2000,
2007). They vastly overlap and almost cover entirely
the Black sea coast, the mountains and hills along the
Turkish border.
Figure 1 Distribution of the Roach’s mouse-tailed
dormouse (Myomimus roachi) in SE Bulgaria. Localities
within the protected zones are in red squares. 1: localities
to 1985, all unconfirmed (Peshev et al., 2004); 2: localities
according to Georgiev (2004); 3: localities from this study.
Dormouse presence was detected from fresh and
decomposed pellets, collected from and around the
nest and places for day roosting of Barn Owls (Tyto
alba) and Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo) in SE Bulgaria.
Barn Owl pellets were collected in 35 localities for
a total of 47 site-year samples from 2000 to 2008.
Eagle Owl pellets were collected in 59 localities with
a total of 540 year-site samples from 1988 to 2011.
The mammals are determined after Görner and Hack-
ethal (1987); Peshev et al. (2004) and our comparat-
ive collection. Roach’s mouse-tailed dormice were
determined from upper and lower jaws and molars
following Peshev et al. (2004) and by comparison
of cranial fragments with materials of Peshev et al.
(1960) in the collection at Faculty of Biology, Uni-
versity of Sofia “St. K. Ohridski”. The minimum
number of individuals for mammals in each sample
has been estimated mainly based on the remains of
crania and cranial fragments, mandibles, pelvic and
limb bones. Mapping of localities is on a 10 km UTM
grid. The marked squares cover most of the respective
Barn Owl’s (1 km range around the locality) or Eagle
Owl’s (2 km range around the locality) hunting area.
Results and discussion
The skeletal remains of 15 Roach’s mouse-tailed
dormice were determined from among 30532
mammals in Barn Owl diet and 32941 mammals
in Eagle Owl diet. The localities fall into 12
UTM squares where the species was not repor-
ted in earlier studies (Georgiev 2004; Peshev
et al. 2004; Fig. 1). Considering all known
locations, the majority are in the zone up to 300
68
Myomimus roachi in Bulgaria
Table 1 Distribution of the Roach’s mouse-tailed
dormouse (Myomimus roachi) localities according to their
altitude, SE Bulgaria. N: number of localities.
Number of localities
Altitude
(m)
Peshev
et al.
(2004)
Georgiev
(2004)
this
study
total N
<100 3 4 7 (32%)
100-200 5 5 (23%)
200-300 3 3 1 7 (32%)
300-350 1 2 3 (14%)
total 7 3 12 22
m a.s.l. (86.4%, N = 22; Tab. 1) out of the
woody parts of border hills and mountains.
The population size of Roach’s mouse-tailed
dormouse is unknown in Bulgaria with the last
captured specimen in 1978 (Peshev et al., 2004).
In a 4-year study, Dimitrov et al. (2007) have
not trapped the species in the old localities re-
ported by Peshev et al. (1960) in the Strandzha
Mountains. Georgiev (2004) did not present
any quantitative data for mammals in collected
pellets. Our pellet analysis suggests the spe-
cies is rare, since in 11 of 12 localities only
a single specimen was found (Tab. 2). The
two studied owls are opportunistic nocturnal
raptors that prefer open areas for hunting as
the habitats of the mainly nocturnal terrestrial
Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse (del Hoyo et al.,
1999; Mebs and Scherzinger, 2000; Peshev et
al., 2004). Obuch (2001) found dormice Myo-
mimus sp. only in the Eagle Owl and Barn Owl
diets among eight studied owls in the Middle
East. The Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse with
its body mass around 30 g (19-48 g, Buruldag
and Kurtonur 2001) is within preferred prey-
mass group of Barn Owl (Miltschev et al., 2004),
but it falls out of the preferred group of the
Eagle Owl’s prey, between 200 and 1900 g (del
Hoyo et al., 1999; Mebs and Scherzinger, 2000).
Together with Romanian hamster (Mesocricetus
newtoni) (Milchev, 2006) and Grey Dwarf Ham-
ster (Cricetulus migratorius) (Georgiev, 2004;
Milchev, 2009b), that inhabit the open steppe
habitats in SE Bulgaria, it was one of the rarest
small mammals in the diet of the two owl spe-
cies. Also other two dormouse species were
preyed rarely (Tab. 2), but these are wood
dwellers. Most Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse
were preyed by Eagle Owls in the last decade
(89%, N = 9). This could correlate with the
possible positive development of its population
as a result of the abandonment of pastures and
farmlands in SE Bulgaria.
The existing network of protected areas and
protected zones includes 5 old and unconfirmed
localities (two in square NG06, Peshev et al.
2004) and 6 of the localities reported by Geor-
giev (2004) and this study (Fig. 1). However,
this dormouse is added to some Natura 2000
zones it does not inhabit, for example the Natura
2000 zone “Skalsko” (BG0000263) more than
100 km to the north from its home range (Natura
2000, 2007). We do not take into account such
zones in this study. A total of 9 new localities re-
main outside protected area ecological network.
They are 41% (N = 22) of all known, but 60% (N
= 15) from the localities reported in the last two
decades. Kryštufek (2011) recommends that
each new type locality is to be protected, and the
criteria for assessing national lists of proposed
sites of community interest at bio-geographical
level (Hab. 97/2 rev. 4 18/11/97) requires
the inclusion of at least 60% of localities in
the Natura 2000 network. Therefore Bulgaria
has to expand its protected areas network for
Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse preservation.
The most suitable areas for this are in the north-
west (squares MG05, MG15, MG25) and north
(squares MG99, NG09, NH10) from the known
species range. The thermoelectric power plants
with open pits are located at a distance 10-13
km north of the localities from the first part.
They are indicated by Golemanski (2011) as
negatively influencing the species and destroy-
ing its habitats. However, there is no evidence
to support this view. The need for a designation
of a Natura 2000 zone in the second region is
substantiated by Milchev (2006) after finding
the Romanian hamster there. The last locality
is incorrectly attributed to the Natura 2000 zone
“Sredetzka reka” (BG0000198), which does not
cover Roach’s mouse-tailed dormouse localities
in the region either.
The lack of captured specimens of Roach’s
mouse-tailed dormouse and a precise study
of its habitats, hence a realistic assessment
of factors affecting the Bulgarian population
severely hampers the effective conservation of
this species. However, the annual fires in large
69
Hystrix, It. J. Mamm. (2012) 23(2): 67–71
Table 2 Minimum number of individuals of dormice (Gliridae) in the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) and Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) diets,
SE Bulgaria. Year: year of detection of M. roachi; Years of occupation: number of years with occupation of the owl breeding
locality with at least one bird.
UTM
square
Year Myomimus
roachi (%)
Dryomys
nitedula
Glis glis Mammals
in sample
Years of occupation
Barn owl diet
MG64 2000 1 (0.1) 3 804
MG24 2001 1 (1.9) 54
MG05 2001 4 (0.4) 2 1117
Eagle owl diet
MG99 1994 1 (2.4) 1 41 4 (since 1994)
NG09 2003 1 (0.7) 3 141 18 (since 1994)
NG08 2005 1 (0.3) 1 299 20 (since 1989)
MG66 2006 1 (1.0) 1 103 16 (since 1996)
MG14 2007 1 (12.5) 8 10 (since 1995)
NH10 2009 1 (1.1) 1 92 17 (since 1994)
NG18 2011 1 (0.5) 3 215 16 (since 1989)
MG23 2011 1 (2.9) 34 13 (since 1995)
MG55 2011 1 (1.4) 1 11 73 1 (since 2011)
areas of riverside hills along Tundzha River near
the border with Turkey (square MG64) appar-
ently negatively influenced species by destroy-
ing its habitat. No effective measures halt this
practice in the area, regardless of its inclusion
in the protected territory named “Gorge of the
Tundzha River”, in the homonymous Natura
2000 zone BG0000217 and in the Natura 2000
zone “Sakar” (BG0000212). Real danger of
total destruction of the protected area is the
realization of the construction of a dam on the
Tundzha River between Bulgaria and Turkey.
Important measures to protect the species would
be economic incentives to maintain traditional
extensive agriculture and livestock farming in
the protected zones. The disappearance of loc-
alities in Turkish Anatolia has been associated
with intensification of agriculture (Kryštufek,
2011), a process that also occurred in our study
area over the past triennium.
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71
... The protected-area network must be developed and take into account the current data on the status of the target species and habitats. Ecological gaps in the natUra 2000 network with inadequate protection of the rodents Roach's Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi) and Romanian Hamster (Mesocricetus newtoni) (Milchev & Georgiev 2012) proved to be very similar to those of the Eurasian Eagle-owl in SE Bulgaria. Only the first rodent species was subsequently removed from the lists of priority species in these SACs, which Milchev and Georgiev (2012) cited as an example of species included in protected areas without proven localities. ...
... Ecological gaps in the natUra 2000 network with inadequate protection of the rodents Roach's Mouse-tailed Dormouse (Myomimus roachi) and Romanian Hamster (Mesocricetus newtoni) (Milchev & Georgiev 2012) proved to be very similar to those of the Eurasian Eagle-owl in SE Bulgaria. Only the first rodent species was subsequently removed from the lists of priority species in these SACs, which Milchev and Georgiev (2012) cited as an example of species included in protected areas without proven localities. The protection of both mammals remains unresolved in SE Bulgaria, despite the conclusion of Nedyalkov et al. (2018) for adequate habitat presence in the natUra 2000. ...
... Therefore, given the large area of the natUra 2000 network in Bulgaria, we support the recommendation of Gantioler et al. (2014) for optimizing the protectedarea network in the member states where its area is well above the EU average. Much better effectiveness and efficiency of the natUra 2000 network for the Eurasian Eagle-owl and other species from the Bird and Habitat Directives will be achieved if the network includes the already preferred parts of SE Bulgaria by the species themselves according to the studies of Milchev and Georgiev (2012), Milchev and Menzel (2017), Chobanov and Milchev (2020). ...
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The effectiveness and efficiency of the natUra 2000 network for the Eurasian Eagle-owl conservation in SE Bulgaria was assessed by comparing data collected during a long-term study on number of breeding pairs and fledglings before and after network establishment. The natUra 2000 network and non-protected areas showed similar values of the calculated indices according to the number of occupied localities. However, the pairs in natUra 2000 sites bred significantly less fledglings after the creation of the network than the pairs in non-protected ones. The Special Protection Areas (SPA) system created specifically for the preservation of birds has the lowest efficiency in respect to Eurasian Eagle-owl protection. Proposals were made after 'gap analysis' for real protection and optimization of the protected-area network to increase the stability of the Eurasian Eagle-owl population in the changing environment. Összefoglalás Délkelet-Bulgária területén hosszú távú vizsgálat alapján elemeztük a natUra 2000 hálózat haté-konyságát és eredményességét az uhu konzervációbiológiájában, amelyhez számos, a hálózat kijelölése előtti és utáni időszakban gyűjtött költőpár és fióka adatait használtuk fel. A natUra 2000-es hálózat és a nem védett terü-letek esetén az elfoglalt területek száma szerint számított mutatók hasonlóak voltak. A natUra 2000-es területe-ken költő párok a hálózat kijelölése után azonban szignifikánsan kevesebb kirepült fiókát neveltek fel, mint a nem védett területeken fészkelő párok. A kifejezetten a madarak megőrzésére létrehozott SPA rendszer az uhu védel-mét tekintve a legkevésbé hatékony. A gap-elemzést követően javaslatot tettünk a védelem hatékonyságának ja-vítására és a védett területek hálózatának optimalizálására annak érdekében, hogy növeljük az uhu populáció sta-bilitását a változó környezetben.
... Myomimus roachi (Bate 1937) is a rare lowland species with limited distribution, less than 2000 km 2 (Krystufek 2008). It has been reported from South-East Bulgaria, Turkish Thrace, and Anatolia (Kurtonur and Ozkan 1991;Peshev et al. 2004;Krystufek 2008;Temple and Cuttelod 2009;Milchev and Georgiev 2012;Nedyalkov 2013;Nedyalkov et al. 2018). During the Pleistocene the species had a wider distribution, as fossils remains of it have been found in Greece, Asia Minor and Palestine (Bate 1937;Соrbet and Mоrris 1967;Storch 1975;Koufos 2001). ...
... As we discussed in the introduction this is considered a rare species, which requires a considerable effort to be collected (Krystufek 2008). Through Tyto alba pellet analysis Milchev and Georgiev (2012) reported 6 individuals of Myomimus roachi from 3 locations from a total of 30,532 individuals and 35 locations in Bulgaria. Similarly Nedyalkov et al. (2018) note that Myomimus roachi represents a negligible part (0.045%) of the Barn Owl diet in Southeastern Bulgaria and it was represented only by one specimen from each locality where it was found comprising 0.7% and 0.3% of small mammal prey respectively. ...
... This is the highest proportion of Myomimus roachi in the diet of Tyto alba yet reported. Previously collected samples from the same area yielded just one specimen (0.2%) which is closer to the proportions reported from Bulgaria (Milchev and Georgiev 2012;Nedyalkov et al. 2018). We attribute the 2016 increase in the simultaneous collapse of Microtus sp populations. ...
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Small mammals are key elements of terrestrial ecosystems, yet in south-eastern Europe many questions about their taxonomy and distribution remain unanswered. This is particularly true for the small mammal fauna of Greece. We investigated the distribution of small mammals in the district of Evros (NE Greece) through Tyto alba pellet analysis and live-trapping in 19 localities (29 samplings). We collected remains from a total 2434 individual vertebrates through pellet analyses and captured 110 small mammals through live trapping. We provide data on the distribution and community composition in the corresponding localities, for 17 small mammal species (11 rodents and 6 insectivores). Our findings include the first record of Myomimus roachi in Greece, a result facilitated by the yearly dynamics of Microtus sp. populations, as well as the first record of Sorex minutus in Evros. The Barn owl’s main prey (by percentage, allocated to genera) were Crocidura (29.7%) Mus (27%) Microtus (23.2%) and Apodemus (13%).
... The Roach's mouse-tailed dormouse is a protected species (Annexes 2 and 3 of the Bulgarian Biological Diversity Act; VU in the Bulgarian Red Data Book (Popov, 2015); Annex 2 of Council Directive 92/43/ EEC or the Habitats Directive). The latest data for its distribution are summarised by Milchev & Georgiev (2012). Its biology and ecology are still poorly studied and generally unknown, no specific research has been done on the species in Bulgaria. ...
... At both locations, M. roachi was presented by a single specimen found among 151 (0.7%) and 356 (0.3%) prey items of small mammals, respectively. The mouse-tailed dormouse represented a negligible part of the diet of T. alba -0.045% (from 4400 prey items) in Southeastern Bulgaria, which was close to the previously reported proportions (Milchev & Georgiev, 2012). ...
... We present two new localities where the species was recorded: Generalovo Village and MG33 in the Sakar Mountain. The current species distribution is presented on Fig. 1 on the basis of our and previously published data (Heinrich, 1936;Peshev et al., 1960;Markov, 1964;Angermann, 1966;Peshev & Angelova, 1967;Peshev & Spassov, 1985;Peshev at al., 2004;Georgiev, 2004;Milchev & Georgiev, 2012;Nedyalkov, 2013). Altogether, the species was found in 24 MGRS squares (10×10 km) in Southeastern Bulgaria. ...
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Myomimus roachi is one of the rarest and least studied mammals of the Western Palearctic. It is rare and sparsely distributed in the Southeastern Balkans and Western Anatolia. After its initial finding in 1959, the species was recorded only sporadically After its initial finding in 1959, the species was recorded only sporadically. All available data for the species distribution in Bulgaria are summarised and three new country records are reported, which all together increases the number of squares on the 10×10 km grid where the species has been recorded to 24. The current species habitats and threats are discussed .
... Open nonforest habitats including arable lands and lightly grazed pastures dominate the landscape on the north. Economy in the area was formerly based mainly on farming and extensive livestock husbandry (see also Milchev & Georgiev 2012). Hot and dry summers usually lead to drying up of the smaller rivers. ...
... Several squares do not fall within the existing net work of protected areas: MG99 with nine species, and MG66, NG09, NH10 each with eight species. These areas coincide completely with important areas for the conservation of some protected small mammals in SE Bulgaria (Milchev & Georgiev 2012), but our efforts in this direction have failed. Only four wetlandinhab iting species were identified in the Eagle Owl diet near the Devil's Swamp (Dyavolsko blato, square NG67) near the town of Primorsko, probably due to the small num ber of Eagle Owl food samples from there. ...
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Pellet and feather analyses of the Eagle Owl diets in 41 localities in SE Bulgaria indicated 144 (75.8 %, n = 190) new and 46 (24.2 %) affirmative records of 10 poorly known and threatened birds species during their breeding period in 1994-2013. This result confirms the efficiency of Eagle Owl diet for studying birds with a cryptic coloration and mainly nocturnal activity. The distribution of the most studied bird species are related to the preservation of many small res¬ervoirs as one of their main breeding habitats in SE Bulgaria. Concentration of 8 and 9 species in four UTM squares, which are also important for the conservation of some protected small mammals, designated the potential areas for new Natura 2000 sites in Bulgaria.
... Among studied sites, only the locality in MG39 square partially covers a Natura 2000 SCI zone (Table 1). At the same time, the repeated predation on Bradyporus macrogaster in square MG99 is further evidence of the potential of this area for a new Natura 2000 site, where a concentration on threatened mammal and bird species included in the Directive 92/43/EEC ( Habitats) and the Directive 2009/147/EC (Birds), respectively, has already been reported (Milchev and Georgiev 2012;Milchev and Menzel 2017). Our results support Sergio et al. (2006) in their suggestion that the Eurasian Eagle Owl can be used as an indicator of high biodiversity and for assessing sites for protected areas. ...
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Three species of Bush-crickets (Orthoptera) of conservation value or poorly known were found in the Eurasian Eagle Owl food in southeastern Bulgaria. Their localities are new country records and two of them cover Natura 2000 SCI zones. The repeated predation on Bradyporus macrogaster in UTM square MG99 confirms the potential of this area for a new Natura 2000 site.
... Food remains (intact and disintegrated pellets, skin, feathers, etc.) were collected from and around the nest and places for day roosting in 53 Eurasian Eagle-owl breeding localities in SE Bulgaria between 1994 and 2015. This area includes mainly hilly and plane territory around 10,000 km² (see also Milchev & Georgiev 2012). The localities are not specified due to conservation considerations. ...
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Three cases of carrion–feeding with remains of artiodactyls (0.3%, n=1104 samples with food remains) have been documented in a long term diet study of Eurasian Eagle-owls (Bubo bubo) in 53 localities at Southeastern Bulgaria. Bone pieces of a sheep/goat (Ovis aries/Carpa hircus), a Fallow Deer (Dama dama) and a Domestic Pig (Sus scrofa dom.) in three Eurasian Eagle-owl breeding localities (5.7%) prove extremely rare feeding on carrion. Northern White–breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), rats (Rattus sp.), waterbirds and gallinaceous birds (total 59.5–72.6% by biomass) constituted the main portion of the diets with carrion remains. The comparisons between food niche breadths, diet composition, average prey biomass and values of superpredation of the annual diets in the three localities have not supported the carrion–feeding of the Eurasian Eagle-owl as a result of food shortages.
... In 2005, an Eagle Owl pair occupied a rocky slope 250 m long and 50 m wide along a river in slightly undulating agrarian landscape of south eastern Bulgaria (see also Milchev and Georgiev, 2012). The exact breeding locality is not specified due to conservation considerations. ...
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A flightless female Eagle Owl Bubo bubo has survived for one year with food provided by its partner. The pair bred successfully and raised one owlet in 2015. The favourable combination of characteristics on the rocky slope nest site occupied by the pair provided the female different escape routes from potential enemies, natural protection of the nest and access to water during the time of laying, incubation period and hot summer weather. Voles (Microtus sp.) were the most numerous prey (55.8% by number, 15.3% by biomass) because of their population spike during the period with a flightless female in the pair. Rats (Rattus sp.; 16.2% by number, 31.2% by biomass), a key prey resource, also increased to a level several times greater than in previous years. The significant differences in diet during 2015 did not appear to cause any obvious changes in Eagle Owl breeding characteristics at the site. The increasing prey on voles and rats created the narrowest food niche and reduced food stress according to the rather lower value of superpredation (3.6% by number, 9.9% by biomass).
... The examined material, which contained bone fragments of the Naumann's Thrush, was pellets and food remains of Eagle Owls from a breeding locality First Record of the Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni Temminck, 1820, sensu lato) in Bulgaria in South-East Bulgaria. The scope of this area and its physiographic and vegetation characteristics are presented by milChev, GeorGiev (2012). The Eagle Owl diet has been studied in this locality by analysing the food remains sampled usually in tree visits yearly (April-May, May-June and August) since 1994. ...
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Studies of the diet of Barn Owls in Southeastern Bulgaria show that small mammals predominate, forming 98 % by number and 97 % by biomass. The most important taxa are mice Mus spp., Lesser white-toothed shrew Crocidura suaveolens, voles Microtus spp. and Bicolored white-toothed shrew C. leucodon, which form 86 % by number and 85 % by biomass of the prey. The proportions of birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects are negligible. Mice Mus spp. predominate in the food in 45 % (n=20) of the localities by number and in 30 % by biomass; voles Microtus spp. in 20 % by number and in 70 % by biomass; and Lesser white-toothed shrew C. suaveolens in 35 % by number. The breadth of the food-niche is 3.14 ± 0.79 (n=20 localities). The most important type of prey is small mammals of the dry open cultural landscape. Wetlands provide additional food sources (Neomys anomalus, Micromys minutus, Arvicola terrestris). The extent of variability of the diet in areas with negligible proportions of wetlands is determined by mice and shrews (Sorex, Crocidura). A greater share of shrews in the diet is associated with a decrease of the proportion of mice and a widening of the food-niche breadth.
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During 1988-90, mapping of the breeding bird distributions in the Bulgarian part of the Strandja Mountains was carried out on the basis of 86 full and 51 partial 5-km squares; all but 14 (partial) squares were surveyed. 133 confirmed breeding species were found, eight probably breeding, and five possibly breeding. The most widely distributed species were those breeding in forest and scrub as well as in the ecotones existing between them and open lanscapes: Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur, Cuckoo Cuculis canorus, Grest Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major, Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos, Blackbird Turdus merula, Song Thrush T. philomelos, Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla, Great Tit Parus major, Red-bached Shrike Lanius collurio, Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, and Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra. The breeding of Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius and the samamisicus race of Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus were confirmed for the first time in Bulgaria, and 30 pairs of Montagu’s Harriers Circus pygargus were found, the largest concentration in the country. Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus, Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Hobby Falco Subbuteo, and Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus were proved for the first time to breed in the Strandja, and Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea was a new probable breeder. Atlas squares contained 20-81 species, mostly (42% of squares) 50-59 species; highest numbers were in squares containing a mixture of wetland, forest, scrub, open spaces, and human settlement. 4.4% of the Bulgarian part of the Strandja Mountains has some form of conservation protection, and ten sites totaling 35.9 km2 have been protected, primarily as breeding localities of rare bird species.
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Remains of the Romanian Hamster Mesocricetus newtoni were found in Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) pellets in South-East Bulgaria (UTM square NG09). This new locality for the hamster species lies 50 km south-west of the nearest previously known locality in the Aitos Mountain. It is located in a region with a hilly relief, an altitude of 50-150 m and prevailing open habitats. In this area the Romanian Hamster is a rare prey of the Eagle Owl (0.11% of the total number of small mammals, n=896 ind.), which most probably reflects its low population density. A great variety of small mammals occur in this region: 28 species or 72% of all small mammals identified in Bulgaria. The great species richness results from the co-occurrence of Steppe, Mediterranean, Boreal and Nemoral species in the area. The region is suitable for inclusion in the National Ecological Net.
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Bone fragments of a Young and an adult Grey Dwarf Hamsters (Cricetulus migratorius (PALLAS, 1773)) were found in Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo (LINNAEUS, 1758)) diets in South-East Bulgaria (UTM squares MH 91/92 and NH 21/22). These new localities in the foot of Hisar hills range predominantly field crops, lightly grazed pastures and thorny shrubs. They lie remote almost 30 km from each other. The Grey Dwarf Hamsters exists with low Population density in the small mammals' communities in the new localities according to its very low presents in the Eagle Owl diets (3.03%, n = 33 Ind. and 0.22%, n = 452 Ind. by number of mammals weighted below 50 g).
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is most numerous in Bulgaria: about 700 pairs (Nankinov 2004). In fact, no special studies about the status of the species and its breeding biology have been carried out af-ter Michev et al. (1984) and Vatev (1987). In this study I report data on the breeding biology of this bird of prey in four gorges in Southeast Bulgaria. Study area and methodS The study area covers 10000 km 2 along the border with Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east, south of Burgas town (N 42° 26É 27°27 Fig. 1). The town of Nova Zagora is the north-westernmost point of the area (N IntroductIon
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Among prey remnants of 42,290 animal individuals, collected in Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Israel, I determined 157 dormice of seven species: Eliomys melanurus, Glis glis, Dryomys nitedula, Dryomys laniger, Myomimus personatus, Myomimus setzeri, and an undescribed Myomimus sp. from the central Zagros Mts. Owl pellets were of four owl species: Tyto alba, Bubo bubo, Strix aluco, and Asio otus. In total, dormice formed only 0.37 % of prey, their dominance, however, increased from southwest towards northeast, begin 0.04 % in Israel and 0.97 % in Iran. Results show that the Middle East has more species of Gliridae than any other region of comparable size. Myomimus setzeri is for the first time reported from Turkey. ORTADOĞU'DA BAYKUŞLARIN BESİN LİSTESİNDEKİ AĞAÇ FARELERİ ÖZET . Türkiye, Suriye, İran ve İsrail'den toplanmış baykuş kusmukları içinde çeşitli hayvanlara ait 42290 besin atığı arasından 157 tanesinin Eliomys melanurus, Glis glis, Dryomys nitedula, Dryomys laniger, Myomimus personatus, Myomimus setzeri, ve Zagros Dağlarından türü teşhis edilememiş bir Myomimus sp. olmak üzere yedi ağaç faresi türüne ait olduğu tespit ettim. Kusmuklar Tyto alba, Bubo bubo, Strix aluco ve Asio otus olmak üzere dört baykuş türüne aittir. Total olarak ağaç farelerinin tüm besinler içindeki payı sadece % 0,37 dir. Ancak bölgesel çokluğu güneybatıda, İsrail'den % 0,04 ten başlayarak kuzeydoğuya, İran'a doğru artarak Iran'da % 0,97 'ye ulaşır. Sonuçlar Ortadoğu'nun diğer tüm benzer büyüklükteki bölgelere göre daha fazla Gliridae türü içerdiğini gösterir. Myomimus setzeri Türkiye'de ilk defa kayıt edilmiştir. Anahtar sözcükler. Ortadoğu, baykuş besinleri, ağaç fareleri, baykuş kusmuğu.
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The small mammal species diversity in the region of the Sakar Mountains (South-Eastern Bulgaria) was studied between 1999-2004. Mainly food remains from birds of prey were collected and analyzed. The most abundant material were pellets of Tyto alba. There were 24 species of small mammals in the Sakar Mountains registered and 11 of them were reported for the first time in the region by this study. Most of the species registered (46%) are included in the Bern Convention, with 31% included in the IUCN Red List 2004. The Bulgarian Biodiversity Act included 27% of the mammals recorded, 12% are included in Directive 92/43/EEC, and 8% are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria. Thirty-nine percent of the mammals recorded are without conservation status.
Hibernation and postnatal development of the mouse-tailed dormouse, Myomimus roachi, reared outdoors in a cage
  • E Buruldag
  • C Kurtonur
Buruldag E., Kurtonur C., 2001. Hibernation and postnatal development of the mouse-tailed dormouse, Myomimus roachi, reared outdoors in a cage. Trakya University Journal of Scientific Research, Ser. B, 2(2): 179-186.
Myomimus personatus Ogn. (Mioxidae) -a new species of rodent to the fauna of Europe
  • C Peshev
  • T Dinev
  • V Angelova
Peshev C., Dinev T., Angelova V., 1960. Myomimus personatus Ogn. (Mioxidae) -a new species of rodent to the fauna of Europe. Bulletin Institute Zoology, Sofia, 9: 305-313. [In Bulgarian with English summary]