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Butterflies & Moths of Bulgaria

This website covers butterfly and moth species that have been recorded on summer butterfly tours run by the British-Bulgaria Society ( since 2002.

The main purpose of this website is to illustrate the species seen with photographs taken on the tours, and provide information from our records on the distribution of species recorded in the areas we have visited. It is hoped that the many photographs will aid with the identification of species. For similar species key identification features are gradually being added to help separate similar species. In addition a range of other information is being built up on the species pages including: phenology, hostplants, range, distribution, habitat, frequency of occurrence and so on.

Initially the B-BS butterfly tours ran for two weeks once a year. Since 2010 there have been two tours each year, one in June and one in July ranging from 9 to 12 days in duration. In 2014 for the first time, we are running three tours, with the extra one being in May.  To date 14 tours and two private trips have been run. The tours/trips have mainly covered the area of Bulgaria south of, and including, the Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) that run west to east north of the middle of Bulgaria. The flatter areas of the Danube basin north of the Stara Planina has so far not been visited.

The land area of Bulgaria is nearly 111,000 square kilometres, that is bigger than Scotland (>78,000 sq km) but smaller than England (>130,000 sq km).

 Nearly all participants who have come on the tours are British and many are members of the charity Butterfly Conservation. Except for 2002 and 2007, all the tours (14 to date) have been led by myself (Nick Greatorex-Davies), along with a Bulgarian co-leader/guide.

Wherever feasible all Butterflies and moths seen have been carefully recorded and vetted. In most cases a GPS was used to record locations. Currently data from all tours (and two separate private trips) are being entered into a database and these data provide the basis for maps that are shown on each of the species pages. All records are assigned to a UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator system) grid square. To date, data from 2012 and 2013 have been loaded. The maps of Bulgaria are overlaid with the UTM grid so that the distribution of records can be displayed.

 With 216 species of butterfly that have definitely recorded in Bulgaria it ranks as one of the butterfly hotspots of Europe. Of these the False Ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus) may now be extinct in Bulgaria and there are no recent records for the Danube Clouded Yellow (Colias myrmidone) or the Damon Blue (Polyommatus damon). In addition there are two additional species who’s specific status is uncertain, namely the Balkan Green-veined White (Pieris balcana) and Falakron Blue (Polyommatus andronicus). There are some additional species on the Bulgaria butterfly list but records are uncertain and need confirmation.

 Of the 216 species 195 species have definitely been recorded on the B-BS tours and associated trips and I have personally seen all of these. Several other species may have been seen, but genitalia examination is needed for certain identification. These trips are non-collecting tours and all butterflies have to be identified in the field. We have recorded as many as 151 butterfly species on a single tour and as few as 104, with an average of 118 species in June and 135 in July.