site.btaPeculiar Names in Bulgaria’s Rich Flora and Fauna: From the Stinky Lover to the Little Cattleman
Bulgaria is among the European countries with the richest biodiversity. There are data and studies placing the number of animal species here at around 30,000, the Bulgarian chapter of the WWF environmental organization said on Tuesday. A report published by the Bulgaria Society for the Protection of Birds last week speaks of 311 species of protected plants, 90 species of mammals, 386 bird species, 64 species of amphibians and reptiles, 95 species of fish, and 397 species of invertebrates registered in Bulgaria in 2022. Following are some rare plants and animals with peculiar names worth mentioning, as listed by the WWF.
The English translation of the Bulgarian names is approximate.
In the Rhodope Mountains, you can find the critically endangered perennial Venus’ Slipper (Venerina pantofka, Cypripedium calceolus L) and the rare biennial Rhodope Little Hater (Rodopsko Omrazniche, Onosma rhodopea). Keep an eye out for the Rhodope Forest Mother (Rodopska Gorska Mayka, Lathraea rhodopaea Dingler), a rare perennial that parasitizes on the roots of several tree species, and the Bride Mushroom (Boulka Guba, Amanita caesarea), an edible orange-red beauty.
In the Znepolski area in Western Bulgaria, you can see the Stinky Little Lover (Vonyashto Obichniche, Thalictrum foetidum), a perennial protected under the Biodiversity Act, and the Yambol Little Orphan (Yambolsko sirache, Colchicum diampolis), a critically endangered endemic plant.
In the Thracian Lowlands, watch out for the protected perennial Prickly Scarecrow (Bodliv Strashnik, Acanthus spinosus) and the annual plant Toothed Jinx (Zubchata Ouroka, Bupleurum odontites). Both are found in areas within the NATURA 2000 European network of protected sites.
In the animal kingdom, Bulgarians sometimes refer to the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) as Grandma [Baba], the lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) as Gypsy Woman [Tsiganka], and the pygmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus) as She-Devil [Dyavolitsa]. The first two species are critically endangered. All three can be observed along the Black Sea coast in winter.
The Tangled Carabus (Zapleten Karabus, Carabus intricatus) is a widespread beetle known for its very long legs. Another long-legged representative of Bulgaria’s fauna is the black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), an endangered bird species whose Bulgarian name translates into Runner on Stilts [Kokilobegach].
Two vulnerable bird species with interesting names are the little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius), which Bulgarians call Little Cattleman [Govedarche] or River Rain Whistler [Rechen Duzhdosvirets], and the little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis), also known as Crooked Duck [Krivo Pate].