Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Beirut River Valley
Lebanon, Mount Lebanon
35o 38.12' East 33o 50.84' North
95 - 1,520m
Year of IBA assessment
Society for the Protection of Nature and Natural Resources in Lebanon
Summary The site consists mainly of Beirut River watershed. The IBA covers an area of 8096ha and holds 41 species of birds and many mammals in the densely forested, less disturbed rocky slopes. It is composed of fast westwards flowing river, with Pine woodland on the northern slopes and scrub and cultivated land with scattered villages on southern slopes.
Site description This site is a deep river valley carved by the Beirut river, extending 20 km eastwards
from the outskirts of Beirut on the western slopes of the Mount Lebanon range.
Key Biodiversity The Beirut River Valley IBA, and particularly its upper reaches, is undoubtedly one
of the most important locations for raptor migration in Lebanon. Over 70 000 soaring
birds of 33 different species were counted over Bhamdoun (33° 48’ 33.72” N, 35° 39’ 35.22” E; 1080 m asl) during the 2006 autumn count alone. This included 51 000 European Honey-buzzards and over 5000 each of Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and Lesser Spotted Eagle. Ten records of Crested Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus will be the first for the country if accepted by the Lebanese Rare Birds Committee. It is also important for soaring birds in the spring, with White Stork and White Pelican being the major species recorded (c8000 and 3500 respectively recorded in spring 2006). Other migrants, principally European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, European Bee-eater Merops apiaster and Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica also pass through in large numbers. Nine species with unfavourable conservation status have been recorded here on migration: Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Lesser Kestrel,Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus, Saker Falcon Falco cherrug, Red Kite Milvus milvus,Egyptian Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle.