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Location Georgia, Samtskhe-Javakheti
Central coordinates 43o 10.00' East  41o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4iv, B1iv, B2
Area 82,828 ha
Altitude 700 - 2,963m
Year of IBA assessment 2005





Site description Lying on Tertiary sediments and volcanic bedrock, this site represents a intermediate zone between the humid `kolkheti' of western Georgia and the dry mountain ranges of Anatolia (Turkey) and northern Iran. It abounds in relict and endemic species. The site includes the gorges of the Mtkvari (Kura) and Paravani rivers in southern Georgia.

Key Biodiversity The avifauna includes at least two of the 10 species in Europe that are restricted (when breeding) to the Eurasian high-montane biome. The site is of great significance for raptors, with at least 32 species recorded, and is one of the most important in the country for breeding species, notably Hieraaetus pennatus, Gyps fulvus (46 pairs in 1996) and others. There have been two recent records of Hieraaetus fasciatus (status uncertain). The site is an important migration bottleneck for raptors, some of which actually stage at the site rather than just passing through; species include Circaetus gallicus (common), Pernis apivorus, Milvus migrans, harriers Circus, Accipiter gentilis, Accipiter nisus, Accipiter brevipes, Aquila pomarina (frequent), Aquila nipalensis, Falco columbarius and Falco cherrug. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Circus macrourus (frequent on passage).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Caucasian Grouse Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi resident  1996  frequent  A2  Near Threatened 
Caspian Snowcock Tetraogallus caspius resident  1996  uncommon  B2  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni unknown  1998  frequent  A1  Least Concern 
Short-toed Snake-eagle Circaetus gallicus breeding  1998  uncommon  B2  Least Concern 
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus resident  1998  frequent  B2  Least Concern 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca passage  1996  uncommon  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga passage  1996  frequent  A1  Vulnerable 
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos resident  1998  4 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus unknown  1996  uncommon  B2  Near Threatened 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus passage  1998  uncommon  A1  Near Threatened 
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor breeding  1998  frequent  B2  Least Concern 
Mountain Chiffchaff Phylloscopus sindianus breeding  1996  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Radde's Accentor Prunella ocularis breeding  1996  frequent  B2  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1996-1998  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A4iv, B1iv   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Borjomi Nature Reserve 17,948 protected area contained by site 17,948  
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park 6,800 protected area contained by site 50,400  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland; Native coniferous woodland  -
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland Alpine, subalpine and boreal grassland  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Water fringe vegetation  -
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic) Caves  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Perennial crops, orchards and groves  -
Rocky areas Inland cliffs; Scree & boulders  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
water management -

Protection status National Partial International None17,948 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Zapovednik) (Borjomi, 17,948 ha). 50,000 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Borjomi-Kharagauli, 50,400 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Meskheti. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014

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