email a friend
printable version
Location Lebanon, Mount Lebanon
Central coordinates 35o 38.12' East  33o 50.84' North
IBA criteria A4iv
Area 8,096 ha
Altitude 95 - 1,520m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  2006  72,410 individuals  good  A4iv   

IBA Monitoring

2007 high not assessed negligible

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species direct mortality of trigger species - hunting and trapping happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution garbage and solid waste happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation  25%
Artificial - terrestrial   25%
Forest   40%
Rocky areas   10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
hunting major
military minor
urban/industrial/transport minor
water management minor

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Beirut River Valley. Downloaded from on 28/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife