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Vertebrates (1). Photo: (c) S. Beshkov
Vertebrates (2). Photo: (c) S. Beshkov
At the department studies are conducted on vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) of Bulgaria and the neighbouring countries. Photos (c) S. Beshkov

Vertebrates Department

Main activities

Studies are conducted in terms of species diversity, distribution, morphology, biology, ecology, phylogeny and conservation value of vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) of Bulgaria and the neighbouring countries. The museum preserves one of the most significant ornithological collections on the Balkan Peninsula.

Current projects

Morphometric characteristics and mapping of freshwater fish in Bulgaria
Updated list of freshwater fish in Bulgaria
Comparative characteristics of the ichthyological faunistic complexes of the rivers of the Aegean and the Black Sea basins
Phylogenetic studies of amphibians and reptiles in Bulgaria
Studies on morphology, infraspecific differentiation, sex dimorphism and taxonomy of the lizards of the family Lacertidae in Bulgaria
Studies on the status of amphibian populations in Bulgaria
Research in Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) ecology, territoriality and population density in Bulgaria (2014—2018)
Monitoring of birds and bats in windfarms at several regions in Spain, Bulgaria, Mexico, Chile and Colombia (from 2011)
Mapping of breeding locations of Pigmy Owl and Tengmalm’s Owl in National Park Rila
Management Plan of National Park Rila — part Fauna, Birds
European Atlas of the breeding birds, 2014—2018. Mapping of nesting bird fauna in 2016 and 2017 at 50X50 km. UTM squares in Western and Central Bulgaria
Monitoring of breeding, migrating and wintering birds at the Negovan wetlands complex
Management Plan of Bulgarka Nature Park — part Fauna, head of a research group for studying the bird fauna of the park
Forest sertification on the territory of state forest enterprises from Southwestern and Souteastern state forest directorates
Action plan for conservation of Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus in Bulgaria. Bulgarian society for the protection of birds (2009—2018)
Urgent measures to secure survival of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece. LIFE10/NAT/BG/000152, Programme LIFE+ of the European Commission (2013—2014)
History of the National Museum of Natural History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene birds of Northern Vietnam
History of Bulgarian ornithology
Digitisation of the palaeoornithological, archaeoornithological and osteological collections of birds at the National Museum of Natural History — BAS


The ichthyological collection of the museum numbers over 5000 specimens of more than 300 species of fish.

The herpetological collections contain 5000 specimens from Bulgarian herpetofauna and about 300 species from foreign countries. The main part of the collections contains about 80 amphibian and 270 reptilian species.

The bird collections comprise fossil bones and bone fragments — over 17000 specimens; recent birds — stuffed skins — ca. 12000 specimens, mounted stuffed skins — more than 5000 specimens, complete and incomplete disarticulated skeletons — ca. 1900 specimens, eggs — ca. 1000 specimens, nests — ca. 80 specimens, etc.

The recent mammals collections (ca. 360 species) — over 1000 mounted dry preparations and skins; preparations in ethanol ca. 250; ca. 2500 skeletons.

Scientific staff

Tihomir Stefanov — Assoc. Prof. Dr, Head of Department
Georgi Popgeorgiev — Assoc. Prof. Dr
Vladislav Vergilov — Assoc. Prof. Dr
Ilya Acosta — Sen. Assist. Dr
Violeta Zhelyazkova — Sen. Assist. Dr
Stefaniya Kamenova — Sen. Assist. Dr
Nia Toshkova — Assist.
Zlatozar Boev — DSc, zoologist
Girgina Daskalova — Dr, zoologist
Violeta Evtimova — Dr, zoologist
Assen Ignatov — Dr, zoologist
Vera Hristova — technical assistant

Histology Laboratory

Head: Vladislav Vergilov — Assoc. Prof. Dr