The black stork
The adult storks are big wading birds with their upper body in black, with golden, purple and green tint. The rest is white. The bill and the legs are red.
The young offspring has yellow bill and legs. They learn to fly when they are 3 months old.
Unlike the white stork which lives in the steppes, the black stork likes the woods. It builds a nest on a tall tree and hunts in streams, rivers, marshes and meadows.
Black storks in Bulgaria can be seen in the Nikopol plateau, around Lovech and Russe. The black stork has one partner for life and there is always a parent in the nest when their young are small. Their mating season starts in May. The female lays from 2 to 6 eggs within 2 days.
The Aesculapian snake
It is a non-venomous snake which can be found in Bulgaria in places with 1600 m altitude. It likes mixed kinds of forests and hunts mainly small rodents, birds, eggs.
In the middle of the summer the female lays from 2 to 10 round eggs. The young ones hatch in September.
It has 4 claws on its legs which help it grasp the tree bark and move up and down the branches.
The woodpecker feeds by using its bill to hammer on dead trees to dig out carpenter ants and wood-boring grubs.
Their voice is remarkable in that it has two different calls. One is a short single high-pitched note done only twice in a row. The other is a screech-like shrill while in flight.
The black woodpecker mate in April. The female lays 4 to 6 eggs which she hatches for about 2 weeks. The parents have to make about 300 trips from and to the nest every day to feed their young.
The male wood pecker has distinctive sexual dimorphism – black feathers with red spots on the head.
The black woodpecker lives predominantly in the mountainous desiduous, mixed or pine forests. In Bulgaria it can be seen in the West and Southwest regions – the mountains of Pirin, the Rhodopes and some parts of the Balkan.
It feeds mainly on fish; sometimes on frogs, crayfish, water rats, insects and birds.
Its body is the size of a big cat – long, flexible, with a long tail – up to 50 cm.
The otter front claws are webbed. It is a protected animal in the Red book of Bulgaria.
The otter mates from March to April. It gives birth from 2 to 5 young and guards them fiercely.
You can meet it almost anywhere in Bulgaria. It prefers woods, parks, vineyards.
The Golden Oriole is a monogamous bird. Its nest is as high as 10 – 15 m off the ground. The female usually lays 3 – 6 speckled eggs.
The Golden Oriole feeds on insects and fruit.
The lesser kestrel
The Lesser Kestrel is a small falcon. It is a summer migrant, wintering in Africa and Pakistan and sometimes even to India and Iraq.
Despite its outward similarity, this species appears not to be closely related to the Common Kestrel.
The Lesser Kestrel eats insects, but also small birds, reptiles and rodents, which are often taken on the ground. It nests colonially on buildings, cliffs, or in tree holes, laying up to 3-6 eggs. No nest structure is built, which is typical for falcons.
It mainly feeds on small mammals, such as voles, rats, mice and hares, birds.
It is said that an owl can swallow a whole hedgehog, swooping down in its flight.
The mating season starts in February. The female lays from 2 to 4 eggs in rock cracks.
The young learn to fly in July.
It is a loner; sometimes it lives in couples. It can be very unpredictable in its behaviour. An adult animal weighs between 100 – 300 kgs and is between 1.50 – 2.50 m tall.
The brown bear is the largest animal in Bulgaria. Although it looks clumsy, it can run as fast ast 45 km/h.
It lives in wetlands surrounded by a large proportion of natural, wooded, landscape.
The search of a nesting areas by adult females can last several hours to more than one day. Once the location of the nest is established, females spend time for the construction of the nest, laying of the eggs, and closing the nest which can take up to another 4 hours.
It is 20 – 25 cm long, its tail is 5 cm long. It lives in woodland, farmland and suburban areas. It is nocturnal, and if alarmed will roll itself into a ball, protecting itself against potential predators with its spines.
European rhino beetle
One of the protected animals by the law. It’s very rare to be seen in Bulgaria.
European Pine marten.
Its mating season is from June to August, with the pregnancy being 8 -9 months long.
The female has a litter of 2 – 8 young. Its life span is 10 – 12 years. In Bulgaria it can be seen in the Strandja mountain, some of the Eastern parts of Rila, Pirin and Rhodope mountains. Its fur is very valuable and that is why it is listed in the Red book of Bulgaria as facing extinction.
Red forest ant
It fights attacks by spewing formic acid.
The red forest ant is a protected species.